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The  original  of  tliis  book  is  in 
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ODIN  BIDS  FAREWELL  TO  BRUNHILD  BEFORE   HE  SURROUNDS   HER  BY  A 
BARRIER  OF  FIRE 
From,  the  painting  by  Th.  Pixis 
""  See  page  367 


THE 

BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

THE  WORLD'S  GREAT 
EPICS  TOLD  IN  STORY 

BY 

H.  A.  QUERBER 

AUTHOR  OF  "MTTH8  OP  OBEECEAND  ROME,"  "MYTHS  OF  NORTHERN  LANDS," 
"  LEGENDS  OF  THE  MIDDLE  AGES,"  ETC. 


WITH  AN  INTRODUCTION  BY 

J.  BERG  ESENWEIN,  Litt.  D. 


WITH  SIXTEEN  ILLUSTRATIONS 
FROM  THE  MASTERS  OF  PAINTING 


PHILADELPHIA  AND  LONDON 

J.  B.  LIPPINCOTT  COMPANY 

1913 

E,V. 


OOPTHIGHT,  1913,  BT   J.    B.  LIPPINCOTT  COMPANT 


PUBLISHED  NOVEMBER,  1913 


FBINTED  BT  J.  B.  LIPPINOOTT  COMPANY 

AT  THB  WASHINGTON  BQUARB  PBBBS 

PHILADELPHIA,  V.  B.  A. 


INTRODUCTION 

Every  now  and  tlien  ia  our  reading  we  come  suddenly 
face  to  face  with  first  things, — ^the  very  elemental  sources 
beyond  which  no  maa  may  go.  There  is  a  distinct  satis- 
faction in  dealing  with  such  beginnings,  and,  when  they 
are  those  of  literature,  the  sense  of  freshness  is  nothing 
short  of  inspiring.  To  share  the  same  lofty  outlook,  to 
breathe  the  same  high  air  with  those  who  first  sensed  a 
whole  era  of  creative  thoughts,  is  the  next  thing  to  being 
the  gods'  chosen  medium  for  those  primal  expressions. 

All  this  is  not  to  say  that  the  epic  is  the  oldest  form  of 
literary  expression,  but  it  is  the  expression  of  the  oldest 
literary  ideas,  for,  even  when  the  epic  is  not  at  all  primitive 
in  form,  it  deals  essentially  with  elemental  moods  and 
ideals.  Epical  poetry  is  poetic  not  because  it  is  metrical 
and  conformative  to  rhythmical  standards, — though  it 
usually  is  both, — ^but  it  is  poetry  because  of  the  high 
sweep  of  its  emotional  outlook,  the  bigness  of  its  thought, 
the  untamed  passion  of  its  language,  and  the  musical  flow 
of  its  utterance. 

Here,  then,  we  have  a  veritable  source  book  of  the 
oldest  ideas  of  the  race;  but  not  only  that — ^we  are  also 
led  into  the  penetralia  of  the  earliest  thought  of  many 
separate  nations,  for  when  the  epic  is  national,  it  is  true 
ta  the  earliest  genius  of  the  people  whose  spirit  it  depicts. 

To  be  sure,  much  of  literature,  and  particularly  the 
literature  of  the  epic,  is  true  rather  to  the  tone  of  a  nation 
than  to  its  literal  history — ^by  which  I  mean  that  Achilles 
was  more  really  a  Greek  hero  than  any  Greek  who  ever 
lived,  because  he  was  the  apotheosis  of  Greek  chivalry,  and 
as  such  was  the  expression  of  the  Greeks  rather  than 
merely  a  Greek.  The  Iliad  and  the  Odyssey  are  not  merely 
epics  of  Greece — ^they  are  Greek. 

This  is  an  age  of  story-telling.    Never  Tiefore  has  the 


6  INTRODUCTION 

world  turned  so  attentively  to  the  shorter  forms  of  fiction. 
Not  only  is  this  true  of  the  printed  short-story,  of  which 
some  thousands,  more  or  less  new,  are  issued  every  year  in 
English,  but  oral  story-telling  is  taking  its  deserved  place 
in  the  school,  the  home,  and  among  clubs  specially  organ- 
ized for  its  cultivation.  Teachers  and  parents  must  there- 
fore be  increasingly  alert,  not  only  to  invent  new  stories, 
but — ^this  even  chiefly — to  familiarize  themselves  with  the 
oldest  stories  in  the  world. 

So  it  is  to  such  sources  as  these  race-narratives  that 
all  story-telling  must  come  for  recurrent  inspirations.  The 
setting  of  each  new  story  may  be  tinged  with  what  wild 
or  sophisticated  life  soever,  yet  must  the  narrator  find  the 
big,  heart-swelling  movements  and  passions  and  thraldoms 
and  conquests  and  sufferings  and  elations  of  mankind 
stored  in  the  great  epics  of  the  world. 

It  were  a  life-labor  to  become  familiar  with  all  of 
these  in  their  expressive  originals;  even  in  translation  it 
would  be  a  titanic  task  to  read  each  one.  Therefore  how 
great  is  our  indebtedness  to  the  ripe  scholarship  and  dis- 
creet choice  of  the  author  of  this  "Book  of  the  Epic"  for 
having  brought  to  us  not  only  the  arguments  but  the  very 
spirit  and  flavor  of  aU  this  noble  array.  The  task  has 
never  before  been  essayed,  and  certainly,  now  that  it 
has  been  done  for  the  first  time,  it  is  good  to  know  that 
it  has  been  done  surpassingly  well. 

To  find  the  original  story-expression  of  a  nation's 
myths,  its  legends,  and  its  heroic  creations  is  a  high  joy — 
a  face-to-faee  interview  with  any  great  first-thing  is  a  big 
experience;  but  to  come  upon  whole  scores  of  undefiled 
fountains  is  like  multiplying  the  Pierian  waters. 

Even  as  all  the  epics  herein  collected  in  scenario  were 
epoch-making,  so  will  the  gathering  of  these  side  by  side 
prove  to  be.  Literary  judgments  must  be  comparative, 
and  now  we  may  place  each  epic  in  direct  comparison  with 
any  other,  with  a  resultant  light,  both  diffused  and  con- 
centrated, for  the  benefit  of  both  critics  and  the  general 
reader. 


INTRODUCTION  7 

The  delights  of  conversation — so  nearly,  alas,  a  lost 
art! — consist  chiefly  in  the  exchange  of  varied  views  on 
single  topics.  So,  when  we  note  how  the  few  primal  story- 
themes  and  plot  developments  of  all  time  were  handled  by 
those  who  first  told  the  tales  in  literate  form,  the  satis- 
faction is  proportionate. 

One  final  word  must  be  said  regarding  the  interest  of 
epical  material.  Heretofore  a  knowledge  of  the  epics — 
save  only  a  few  of  the  better  known — ^has  been  confined  to 
scholars,  or,  at  most,  students;  but  it  may  well  be  hoped 
that  the  wide  "perusal  of  this  book  may  serve  to  show  to 
the  general  reader  how  fascinating  a  store  of  fiction  may 
be  found  in  epics  which  have  up  till  now  been  known  to 
him  only  by  name. 

J.  Bbeg  Esenwein 


CONTENTS 


PAGE 
lUTBODtfCTION  BY  J.  BeBG  EsENWEIN 5 

foeewobd 15 

Gbbek  Epics 17 

The  Iliad 20 

The  Odtsbbt 40 

Latin  Ewcb 63 

The  Abneid 64 

Feench  Epics 81 

The  Song  op  Roland 84 

aucassin  and  nicolette 101 

Spanish  Epics 107 

The  Cro 108 

PoKTUGCESE  Epics 127 

The  Ltjsiad 127 

Italian  Epics r 137 

DrviNE  Comedy 139 

The  Inferno 139 

pubgatoby 160 

Pabadise 176 

The  Oblandos 189 

GEBTJSAXiEMME   LiBEBATA,  OB  JeBUSALEIiI  DeLIVBBED 197 

Epics  op  the  Bbitish  Isles 214 

Beowulf 222 

The  Abthubian  Cycle 229 

Robin  Hood 243 

— ~*Thb  Faeme  Queene 255 

PAT.AnTnii-.  Lost 288 

Pabadise  Regained 313 

9 


10  CONTENTS 

Gekuan  Epics 323 

The  Nibelungenlied 328 

Stobt  of  the  Hoi/T  Geail 346 

Epics  op  the  Netherlands 356 

Scandinavian  Epics 360 

The  Volsunoa  Saoa 362 

Russian  and  Finnish  Epics 372 

The  Kalevala,  oh  the  Land  op  Heroes 373 

Epics  op  Centkal  Europe  and  op  the  Balkan  Peninsula 392 

Hebrew  and  Early  Christian  Epics 395 

Arabian  and  Persian  Epics 397 

The  Shah-Nameh,  or  Epic  of  Kings 398 

Indian  Epics 415 

The  Ramatana 416 

The  Mahabharata 431 

Chinese  and  Japanese  Poetry 456 

American  Epics 464 

Index 471 


ILLUSTRATIONS 

FAGB 

Odin  Bids  Farewell  to  Brunhild  before  He  Surrounds  Her  by  a 
Barrier  of  Fire Frcmtispiece 

From  the  painting  by  Th.  Pixis 
Oedipus  Solving  the  Sphinx's  Riddle 19 

From  the  painting  by  Ingres 
Achilles  Disguised  as  a  Girl  Testing  the  Sword  in  Ulysses'  Pack      21 

From  the  painting  by  Battoni 
Circe  and  Ulysses'  Companions  Turned  into  Swine 51 

By  L.  Chalon 
Venus  Meeting  Aeneas  and  Achates  Near  Carthage 65 

From  the  painting  by  Cortona 
Roland  at  Roncesvaux 92 

From  the  painting  by  L.  F.  Chiesnet 
The  Palace  Where  Inez  de  Castro  lived  and  was  Murdered. .     132 
Dante  Interviewing  Hugues  Capet 170 

From  an  Ulustraiion  by  R.  Galli 
Hermione  Finds  Tancred  Wounded 212 

From  the  painting  by  Nicolas  Poussin 
The  Body  of  Elaine  on  its  Way  to  King  Arthur's  Palace 236 

By  Oustave  DorS 

Una  and  the  Red  Cross  Knight 256 

From  the  painting  by  George  Frederick  Watts 

The  Heralds  Summon  Lucifer's  Host  to  a  Council  at  Pande- 
monium    289 

By  Gustave  Dori 
The  Dead  Sigfried  Borne  Back  to  Worms 336 

From  the  painting  by  Th.  Pixis 
St.  John  the  Evangelist  at  Patmos  Writing  the  Apocalypse 396 

From  the  painting  by  Correggio 
Sita  Soothing  Rama  to  Sleep 429 

From  a  Calaiita  print 
The  Monk  Breaks  into  the  Robbers'  House  to  Rescue  White 

Aster 460 

From  a  Japanese  print 


"It  is  in  this  vast,  dim  region  of  mtth  and 

LEGEND  THE  B0T7BCES  OF  THE  LITERATITHE  OF 
MODERN  TIMES  ARE  HIDDEN;  AND  IT  IS  ONLY 
BT  RETTTBNING  TO  THEM,  BY  CONSTANT  RE- 
MEMBRANCE THAT  THEY  DRAIN  A  VAST  REGION 
OF  VITAL  HUMAN  EXPEBIENCB,  THAT  TEIB  ORIGIN 
AND  EARLY  DIRECTION  OF  THAT  LITERATURE  CAN 

BE  EECALLED."— Hamilton  Wright   Mabie. 


FOREWORD 

Derived  from  the  Greek  epos,  a  saying  or  oracle,  the 
term  "epic"  is  generally  given  to  some  form  of  heroic 
narrative  wherein  tragedy,  comedy,  lyric,  dirge,  and  idyl 
are  skilfully  blended  to  form  an  immortal  vrork. 

"Mythology,  which  was  the  interpretation  of  nature, 
and  legend,  whioh  is  the  idealization  of  history,"  are  the 
main  elements  of  the  epic.  Being  the  "living  history  of 
the  people,"  an  epic  should  have  "the  breadth  and  volume 
of  a  river."  All  epics  have  therefore  generally  been  "the 
first-fruits  of  the  earliest  experience  of  nature  and  life  on 
the  part  of  imaginative  races";  and  the  real  poet  has  been, 
as  a  rule,  the  race  itself. 

There  are  ahnost  as  many  definitions  of  an  epic  and 
rules  for  its  composition  as  there  are  nations  and  poets. 
For  that  reason,  instead  of  selecting  only  such  works  as 
in  the  writer's  opinion  can  justly  claim  the  title  of  epic, 
each  nation's  verdict  has  been  accepted,  without  question, 
in  regard  to  its  national  work  of  this  class,  be  it  in  verse 
or  prose. 

The  following  pages  therefore  contain  almost  every 
variety  of  epic,  from  that  which  treats  of  the  deity  in 
dignified  hexameters,  strictly  conforms  to  the  rule  "one 
hero,  one  time,  and  one  action  of  many  parts,"  and  has 
"the  massiveness  and  dignity  of  sculpture,"  to  the  simplest 
idyls,  such  as  the  Japanese  "White  Aster,"  or  that  ex- 
quisite French  mediaeval  compound  of  poetry  and  prose, 
"Aueassin  et  Nieolette."  Not  only  are  both  Christian 
and  pagan  epics  impartially  admitted  in  this  volume,  but 
the  representative  works  of  each  nation  in  the  epic  field 
are  grouped,  according  to  the  languages  in  which  they 
were  com|>osed. 

Many  of  the  ancient  epics  are  so  voluminous  that  even 
one  of  them  printed  in  full  would  fill  twenty-four  volumes 

15 


16  FOREWORD 

as  large  as  this.  To  give  even  the  barest  outline  of  one 
or  two  poems  in  each  language  has  therefore  required  the 
utmost  condensation.  So,  only  the  barest  outline  figures 
in  these  pages,  and,  although  the  temptation  to  quote 
many  choice  passages  has  been  well-nigh  irresistible,  space 
has  precluded  all  save  the  scantiest  quotations. 

The  main  object  of  this  volume  consists  in  outlining 
clearly  and  briefly,  for  the  use  of  young  students  or  of 
the  busy  general  reader,  the  principal  examples  of  the 
time-honored  stories  which  have  inspired  our  greatest  poets 
and  supplied  endless  material  to  painters,  sculptors,  and 
musicians  ever  since  art  began. 


THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

GREEK  EPICS 

The  greatest  of  all  the  world's  epics,  the  Iliad  and  the 
Odyssey,  are  attributed  to  Homer,  or  Melesigenes,  who  is 
isaid  to  have  lived  some  time  between  1050  and  850  B.C. 
Ever  since  the  second  century  before  Christ,  however,  the 
question  whether  Homer  is  the  originator  of  the  poems,  or 
whether,  like  the  Ehapsodists,  he  merely  recited  extant 
verses,  has  been  hotly  disputed. 

The  events  upon  which  the  Iliad  is  based  took  place 
some  time  before  1100  B.C.,  and  we  are  told  the  poems 
of  Homer  were  collected  and  committed  to  writing  by 
Pisistratus  during  the  age  of  Epic  Poetry,  or  second  age 
of  Greek  literature,  which  ends  600  B.C. 

It  stands  to  reason  that  the  Iliad  must  have  been  in- 
spired by  or  at  least  based  upon  previous  poems,  since 
such  perfection  is  not  achieved  at  a  single  bound.  Besides, 
we  are  aware  of  the  existence  of  many  shorter  Greek  epics, 
which  have  either  been  entirely  lost  or  of  whioh  we  now 
possess  only  fragments. 

A  number  of  these  ancient  epics  form  what  is  termed 
the  Trojan  Cycle,  because  all  relate  in  some  way  to  the 
"War  of  Troy.  Among  them  is  the  Cypria,  in  eleven  books, 
by  Stasimus  of  Cyprus  (or  by  Arctinus  of  Miletus), 
wherdn  is  related  Jupiter's  frustrated  wooing  of  Thetis, 
her  marriage  with  Peleus,  the  episode  of  the  golden  apple, 
the  judgment  of  Paris,  the  kidnapping  of  Helen,  the 
mustering  of  the  Greek  forces,  and  the  main  events  of  the 
first  nine  years  of  the  Trojan  War.  The  Iliad  (of  which  a 
synopsis  is  given)  follows  tiiis  epic,  taking  up  the  story 
where  the  wrath  of  Achilles  is  aroused  and  ending  it  witii 
the  funeral  of  Hector. 

This,  however,  does  not  conclude  the  story  of  the 
Trojan  War,  which  ia  resumed  in  the  "Aethiopia,"  in  five 
2  17 


18  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

books,  by  Arctinus  of  Miletus.  After  describing  the 
arrival  of  Penthesilea,  Queen  of  the  Amazons,  to  aid  the 
Trojans,  the  poet  relates  her  death  at  the  hand  of  Achilles, 
who,  in  hia  turn,  is  slain  by  Apollo  and  Paris.  This  epic 
concludes  with  the  famous  dispute  between  Ajax  and 
Ulysses  for  the  possession  of  Achilles'  armor. 

The  Little  Iliad,  whose  authorship  is  ascribed  to  sundry 
poets,  including  Homer,  next  describes  the  madness  and 
death  of  Ajax,  the  arrival  of  Philoctetes  with  the  arrows 
of  Hercules,  the  death  of  Paris,  the  purloining  of  the 
Palladium,  the  stratagem  of  the  wooden  horse,  and  the 
death  of  Priam. 

In  the  Ilion  Persis,  or  Sack  of  Troy,  by  Arctinus,  in 
two  books,  we  find  the  Trojans  hesitating  whether  to  con- 
vey the  wooden  steed  into  their  city,  and  discover  the 
immortal  tales  of  the  traitor  Sinon  and  that  of  Laocoon. 
We  then  behold  the  taking  and  sacking  of  the  city,  with 
the  massacre  of  the  men  and  the  carrying  off  into  captivity 
of  the  women. 

In  the  Nostroi,  or  Homeward  Voyage,  by  Agias  of 
Troezene,  the  Atridae  differ  in  opinion;  so,  while  Aga- 
memnon delays  his  departure  to  offer  propitiatory  sacri- 
fices, Menelaus  sets  sail  for  Egypt,  where  he  is  detained. 
This  poem  also  contains  the  narrative  of  Agamemnon's 
return,  of  his  assassination,  and  of  the  way  in  which  his 
death  was  avenged  by  his  son  Orestes. 

Next  in  sequence  of  events  comes  the  Odyssey  of 
Homer  (of  which  a  complete  synopsis  follows),  and  then 
the  Telegonia  of  Eugammon  of  Cyrene,  in  two  books.  This 
describes  how,  after  the  burial  of  the  suitors,  Ulysses  re- 
news his  adventures,  and  visits  Thesprotia,  where  he 
marries  and  leaves  a  son.  We  also  have  his  death,  a 
battle  between  two  of  his  sons,  and  the  marriage  of 
Telemachus  and  Circe,  as  well  as  that  of  the  widowed 
Penelope  to  Telegonus,  one  of  Ulysses'  descendants. 

Another  sequel,  or  addition  to  the  Odyssey,  is  found 
in  the  Telemachia,  also  a  Greek  poem,  as  well  as  in  a  far 
more  modem  work,  the  French  classic,  T616maque,  written 


OEDIPUS  SOLVING  THE  SPHINX's  KIDDLE 
From  the  painting  by  Ingres 


GREEK  EPICS  19 

by  Penelon  for  his  pupil  the  Dauphin,  in  the  age  of 
Louis  XIV. 

Another  great  series  of  Greek  poems  is  the  Thebaa 
Cycle,  which  comprises  the  Thebais,  by  some  unknown 
author,  wherein  is  related  in  full  the  story  of  Oedipus,  that 
of  the  Seven  Kings  before  Thebes,  and  the  doings  of  the 
Epigoni. 

There  exisb  also  cyclic  poems  in  regard  to  the  labors  of 
Heracles,  among  others  one  called  Oechalia,  which  has 
proved  a  priceless  mine  for  poets,  dramatists,  painters, 
and  sculptors.* 

In  the  Alexandra  by  Lycophron  (270  B.C.),  and  in  a 
similar  poem  by  Quintns  Smymaeus,  in  fourteen  books, 
we  find  tedious  sequels  to  the  Iliad,  wherein  Alexander 
is  represented  as  a  descendant  of  Achilles.  Indeed,  the 
life  and  death  of  Alexander  the  Great  are  also  the  source 
of  innumerable  epics,  as  well  as  of  romances  in  Greek, 
Latin,  French,  German,  and  English.  The  majority  of 
these  are  based  upon  the  epic  of  Oallisthenes,  110  A.D., 
wherein  an  attempt  was  made  to  prove  that  Alexander 
descended  directly  from  the  Egyptian  god  Jupiter  Ammon 
or,  at  least,  from  his  priest  Neetanebus. 

Besides  being  told  in  innumerable  Greek  versions,  the 
tale  of  Troy  has  frequently  been  repeated  in  Latin,  and 
it  enjoyed  immense  popularity  all  throughout  Europe  in 
the  Middle  Ages.  It  was,  however,  most  beloved  in  France, 
where  Benoit  de  St.  Maur's  interminable  "Roman  de 
Troie,"  as  well  as  his  "Roman  d 'Alexandre,"  greatly  de- 
lighted the  lords  and  ladies  of  his  time. 

Bemdes  the  works  based  on  the  story  of  Troy  or  on 
the  adventures  of  Alexander,  we  have  in  Greek  the 
Thec^ony  of  Hesiod  in  some  1022  lines,  a  miniature  Greek 
mythology,  giving  the  story  of  the  origin  and  the  doings 
of  the  Greek  gods,  as  well  as  the  Greek  theory  in  regard 
to  the  creation  of  the  world. 

*A  detailed  account  of  Oedipus,  Heracles,  the  Argonauts,  and 
the  "  War  of  Troy  "  is  given  in  the  author's  "  Myths  of  Greece  and 
Rome." 


20  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Among  later  Greek  works  we  must  also  note  the  Shield 
of  Heracles  and  the  Eoiae.  or  Catalogue  of  the  Boetian 
heroines  who  gave  birth  to  demi-gods  or  herora. 

In  194  B.C.  Apollonius  Rhodius  at  Alexandria  wrote 
the  Argonautica,  in  four  books,  wherein  he  rela,tes  the 
adventures  of  Jason  in  quest  of  the  golden  fleece.  This 
epic  was  received  so  coldly  that  the  poet,  in  disgust,  with- 
drew to  Ehodes,  where,  having  remodelled  his  work,  he 
obtained  immense  applause. 

The  principal  burlesque  epic  in  Greek,  the  Bactracho- 
myomachia,  or  Battle  of  Frogs  and  Mice,  is  attributed  to 
Homer,  but  only  some  300  lines  of  this  work  remain,  show- 
ing what  it  may  have  been. 

THE  ILIAD 

Introduction.  Jupiter,  king  of  the  gods,  refrained  from 
an  alliance  with  Thetis,  a  sea  divinity,  because  he  was  told 
her  son  would  be  greater  than  his  father.  To  console  her, 
however,  he  decreed  that  all  the  gods  should  attend  her 
nuptials  with  Peleus,  King  of  Thessaly.  At  this  wedding 
banquet  the  Goddess  of  Discord  produced  a  golden  apple, 
inscribed  "To  the  fairest,"  which  Juno,  Minerva,  and 
Venus  claimed. 

Because  the  gods  refused  to  act  as  umpires  in  this 
quarrel,  Paris,  son  of  the  King  of  Troy,  was  chosen.  As 
an  oracle  had  predicted  before  his  birth  that  he  would 
cause  the  ruin  of  his  dty,  Paris  was  abandoned  on  a 
mountain  to  perish,  but  was  rescued  by  kindly  shepherds. 

On  hearing  Juno  offer  him  worldly  jwwer,  Minerva 
boundless  wisdom,  and  Venus  th6  most  beautiful  wife  in 
the  world,  Paris  bestowed  the  prize  of  beauty  upon  Venus. 
She,  therefore,  bade  him  return  to  Troy,  where  his  family 
was  ready  to  welcome  him,  and  sail  tiience  to  Greece  to 
kidnap  Helen,  daughter  of  Jupiter  and  Leda  and  wife  of 
Menelaus,  King  of  Sparta.  So  potent  were  this  lady's 
charms  that  her  step-father  had  made  all  her  suitors' 
swear  never  to  carry  her  away  from  her  husband,  and  to 
aid  in  her  recovery  should  she  ever  be  kidnapped. 


ACHILLES  DISGUISED   AS   A  GIRL  TESTING  THE  SWORD  IN  TJLYSSES'  PACK 
Ftotti  the  'painting  by  Battoni 


THE  ILIAD  21 

Shortly  after  his  arrival  at  Sparta  and  during  a  brief 
absence  of  its  king,  Paris  induced  Helen  to  elope  with  him. 
On  his  return  the  outraged  husband  summoned  the  suitors 
to  redeem  their  pledge,  and  collected  a  huge  force  at 
Aulis,  where  Agamemnon  his  brother  became  leader  of  the 
expedition.  Such  was  the  popularity  of  this  war  that  even 
heroes  who  had  taken  no  oath  were  anxious  to  make  part 
of  the  punitive  expedition,  the  most  famous  of  these  war- 
riors being  AchiUes,  son  of  Thetis  and  Pelei^. 

After  many  adventures  tke  Greeks,  landing  on  the 
shores  of  Asia,  began  besieging  the  city,  from  whose 
liimparts  Helen  watched  her  husband  and  his  allies  meas- 
ure their  strength  against  the  Trojans.  Such  was  the 
bravery  displayed  on  both  sides  that  the  war  raged  nine 
years  without  any  decisive  advantage  being  obtained.  At 
the  end  of  this  period,  during  a  raid,  the  Greeks  secured 
two  female  captives,  which  were  awarded  to  Agamemnon 
and  to  Achilles  in  recognition  of  past  services. 

Although  the  above  events  are  treated  in  sundry  other 
Greek  poems  and  epies,^ — ^which'  no  longer  exist  entire^  but 
form  part  of  a  cycle, — ^"The  Iliad,"  accredited  to  Homer, 
takes  up  the  story  at  this  point,  and  relates  the  wrath  of 
Achilles,  together  with  the  happenings  of  some  fifty  days 
in  the  ninth  year. 

Booh  I.  After  invoking  the  Muse  to  aid  hiTn  sing  the" 
•wrath  of  Achilles,  the  poet  relates  how  Apollo's  priest 
came  in  person  to  the  Greek  camp  to  ransom  his  captive 
daughter,  only  to  be  treated  with  contumely  by  Aga- 
memnon. In  his  indignation  this  priest  besought  Apollo 
to  send  down  a  plague  to  decimate  the  foe's  forces,  and 
the  Greeks  soon  learned  from  their  oracles  that  its  ravages 
would  not  cease  until  the  maiden  was  restored  to  her 
father. 

Nor  will  the  god's  awaken'd  fury  cease, 

But  plagues  shall  spread,   and  funeral  fires  increase, 

Till  the  great  king,  without  a  ransom  paid, 

To  her  own  Chrysa  send  the  black-eyed  maid." 


=  AU  the  quotations  from  the  Iliad  are  taken  from  Pope's  trans- 
lation. 


22  THE  BOOK  OP  THE  EPIC 

In  a  formal  council  Agamemnon  is  therefore  asked  to 
relinquish  his  captive,  but  violently  declares  that  he  will 
do  so  only  in  ease  he  receives  Achilles'  slave.  This  in- 
solent claim  so  infuriates  the  young  hero  that  he  is  about 
to  draw  his  sword,  when  Minerva,  unseen  by  the  rest, 
bids  him  hold  his  hand,  and  state  that  should  Agamemnon's 
threat  be  carried  out  he  will  withdraw  from  the  war. 

Although  the  aged  Nestor  employs  all  his  honeyed 
eloquence  to  soothe  this  quarrel,  both  chiefs  angrily  with- 
draw, Agamemnon  to  send  his  captive  back  to  her  father, 
and  Achilles  to  sulk  in  his  tent. 

It  is  while  he  is  thus  engaged  that  Agamemnon's 
heralds  appear  and  lead  away  his  captive.  Mindful  of 
Minerva's  injunctions,  Achilles  allows  her  to  depart,  but 
registers  a  solemn  oath  that,  even  were  the  Greeks  to 
perish,  he  will  lend  them  no  aid.  Then,  strolling  down 
to  the  shore,  he  summons  his  mother  from  the  watery  deep, 
and  implores  her  to  use  her  influence  to  avenge  his  wrongs. 
Knowing  his  life  will  prove  short  though  glorious,  Thetis 
promises  to  visit  Jupiter  on  Olympus  in  his  behalf.  There 
she  wins  from  the  Father  of  the  Gods  a  promise  that  the 
Greeks  will  suffer  defeat  as  long  as  her  son  does  not  fight 
in  their  ranks, — a  promise  confirmed  by  his  divine  nod. 
This,  however,  arouses  the  wrath  and  jealousy  of  Juno, 
whom  Jupiter  is  compelled  to  chide  so  severely  that  peace 
and  harmony  are  restored  ia  Olympus  only  when  Vulcan, 
acting  as  cup-bearer,  rouses  the  inextinguishable  laughter 
of  the  gods  by  his  awkward  limp. 

Book  II.  That  night,  while  all  are  sleeping,  Zeus 
sends  a  deceptive  dream  to  Agamemnon  to  suggest  the 
moment  has  come  to  attack  Troy.  At  dawn,  therefore, 
Agamemnon  calls  an  assembly,  and  the  chiefs  decide  to 
test  the  mettle  of  the  Greeks  by  ordering  a  return  home, 
and,  in  the  midst  of  these  preparations,  summoning  the 
men  to  fight. 

These  signs  of  imminent  departure  incense  Juno  and 
Minerva,  who,  ever  since  the  golden  apple  was  bestowed 
upon  Venus,  are  sworn  foes  of  Paris  and  Troy.    In  dis- 


THE  ILIAD  23 

guise,  therefore,  Minerva  urges  Ulysses,  wiliest  of  the 
Greeks,  to  silence  the  clown  Thersites,  and  admonish  his 
companions  that  if  they  return  home  empty-handed  they 
wiU  be  disgraced.  Only  too  pleased,  Ulysses  reminds  his 
countrymen  how,  just  before  they  left  home,  a  serpent 
crawled  from  beneath  the  altar  and  devoured  eight  young 
sparrows  and  the  mother  who  tried  to  defend  them,  add- 
ing that  this  was  an  omen  that  for  nine  years  they  would 
vainly  besiege  Troy  but  would  triumph  in  the  tenth. 

His  eloquent  reminder,  reinforced  by  patriotic  speeches 
from  Nestor  and  Agamemnon,  determines  the  Greeks  to 
attempt  a  final  attack  upon  Troy.  So,  with  the  speed 
and  destructive  fury  of  a  furious  fire,  the  Greek  army, 
whose  forces  and  leaders  are  all  named,  sweeps  on  toward 
Troy,  where  Iris  has  flown  to  warn  the  Trojans  of  their 
approach. 

As  on  some  mountain,  through  the  loffy  grove 
The  crackling  flames  ascend  and  hlaze  above; 
The  fires  expanding,  as  the  winds  arise, 
Shoot  their  long  beams  and  kindle  half  the  skies: 
So  from  the  polish'd  arms  and  brazen  shields 
A  gleamy  splendor  flash'd  along  the  fields. 

It  is  in  the  form  of  one  of  Priam 'a  sons  that  this  divinity 
enters  the  palace,  where,  as  soon  as  Hector  hears  the 
news,  he  musters  Ms  warriors,  most  conspicuous  among 
whom  are  his  brother  Paris,  and  Aeneas,  son  of  Venus 
and  Anchises. 

Book  III.  Both  armies  now  advance  toward  each 
other,  the  Trojans  uttering  shrill  cries  like  migratory 
cranes,  while  the  Greeks  maintain  an  impressive  silence. 
When  near  enough  to  recognize  his  wife's  seducer,  Mene- 
laus  rushes  forward  to  attack  Paris,  who,  terrified,  takes 
refuge  in  the  ranks  of  the  Trojan  host.  So  cowardly  a 
retreat,  however,  causes  Hector  to  express  the  bitter  wish 
that  his  brother  had  died  before  bringing  disgrace  upon 
Troy.  Although  conscious  of  deserving  reproof,  Paris, 
after  reminding  his  brother  all  men  are  not  constituted 
alike,  offers  to  redeem  his  honor  by  fighting  Menelaus, 


24  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

provided  Helen  and  lier  treasures  are  awarded  to  the 
victor.  This  proposal  proves  so  welcome,  that  Hector 
checks  the  advance  of  his  men  and  proposes  this  duel 
to  the  Greeks,  who  accept  his  terms,  provided  Priam  will 
swear  in  person  to,,J^  treaty. 

Meanwhile  ^3ns,"  in  ^ise  of  a  princess,  has  entered  the 
Trojan  palace  and  bidden  Helen  hasten  to  the  ramparts 
to  see  the  two  armies — ^instead  of  fighting — offering  sacri- 
fices as  a  preliminary  to  the  duel,  of  which  she  is  to  be  the 
prize.  Donning  a  veil  and  summoning  her  attendants, 
Helen  seeks  the  place  whence  Priam  and  his  ancient  coun- 
sellors gaze  down  upon  the  plain.  On  beholding  her,  even 
these  aged  men  admit  the  two  nations  are  excusable  for 
so  savagely  disputing  her  possession,  while  Priam,  with 
fatherly  tact,  ascribes  the  war  to  the  gods  alone. 

These,  when  the  Spartan  queen  approach'd  the  tower. 
In  secret  own'd  resistless  beauty's  power: 
They  cried,  "  No  wonder  such  celestial  charms 
For  nine  long  years  have  set  the  world  in  arms; 
What  winning  grace!  what  majestic  mien! 
She  moves  a  goddess  and  she  looks  a.  queen!  " 

Then  he  invites  Helen  to  sit  beside  him  and  name  the 
Greeks  he  points  out,  among  whom  she  recognizes,  with 
bitter  shame,,  her  brother-in-law  Agamemnon,  Ulysses  the 
wily,  and  Agax  the  bulwark  of  Greece.  Then,  while  she 
is  vainly  seeking  the  forms  of  her  twin  brothers,  mes- 
sengers summon  Priam  down  to  the  plain'  to  swear  to 
the  treaty,  a  task  he  has  no  sooner  performed  than  he 
drives  back  to  Troy,  leaving  Hector  and  Ulysses  to  meas- 
ure out  the  duelling  ground  and  to  settle  by  lot  which 
champion  shall  strike  first. 

Fate  having  favored  Paris,  he  advances  in  brilliant 
array,  and  soon  contrives  to  shatter  Menelaus'  sword. 
Thus  deprived  of  a  weapon,  Menelaus  boldly  grasps  his 
adversary  by  his  plumed  helmet  and  drags  him  away, 
until,  seeing  her  protege  in  danger,  Venus  breaks  the 
fastenings  of  his  helmet,  which  alone  remains  in  Menelaus' 
hands.    Then  she  spirits  Paris  hack  to  the  Trojan  palace. 


THE  ILIAD        '  25 

where  she  leaves  him  resting  on  a  CQueh,  and  hurries  off, 
ia  the  guise  of  an  old  crone,  to  twitch  Helen's  veil,  whis- 
pering that  Paris  awaits  her  at  home.  Recognizing  the 
goddess  in  spite  of  her  disguise,  Helen  reproaches  her, 
declaring  she  has  no  desire  ever  to  see  Paris  again,  but 
Venus,  awing  Helen  into  submission,  leads  her  back  to  the 
palace.  ThereJ^ris,  after  artfully  ascribing  Menelaus' 
triumph  to  Mm^ro's  aid,  proceeds  to  woo  Helen  anew. 
Meantime  Menelaus  vainly  ranges  to  and  fro,  seeking  his 
foe  and  hotly  accusing  the  Trojans  of  screening  him,  while 
Agamemnon  clamors  for  the  immediate  surrender  of  Helen, 
saying  the  Greeks  have  won. 

Booh  IV.  The  gods  on  Mount  Olympus,  who  have 
witnessed  all,  now  taunt  each  other  with  abetting  the 
Trojans  or  Greeks,  as  the  case  may  be^i-LMter  this  quarrel 
has  raged  some  time,  Jupiter  bids  Mmerva  go  down  and 
violate  the  truce ;  so,  in  the  guise  of  a  warrior,  she  prompts 
a  Trojan  archer  to  aim  at  Menelaus  a  dart  which  pro- 
duces a  nominal  wound.  This  is  enough,  however,  to 
excite  Agamemnon  to  avenge  the  broken  treaty.  A  moment 
later  the  Greek  phalanx  advances,  urged  on  by  Minerva, 
while  the  Trojans,  equally  inspired  by  Mars,  rush  to  meet 
them'  with  similar  fury.  Streams  of  blood  now  flow,  the 
earth  trembles  beneath  the  crash  of  falling  warriors,  and 
the  roll  of  war  chariots  is  like  thunder.  Although  it  seems 
for  a  while  as  if  the  Greeks  are  gaining  the  advantage, 
Apollo  spurs  the  Trojans;  to  new  efforts  by  reminding  them 
that  Achilles,  their  most  dreaded  foe,  is  absent. 

Booh  V.  Seeing  the  battle  well  under  way,  Minerva 
now  drags  Mars  out  of  the  fray,  suggesting  that  mortals 
settle  their  quarrel  unaided.  Countless  duels  now  occur, 
many  lives  are  lost,  and  sundry  miracles  are  performed.\ 
Diomedes,  for  instance,  being  instantly  healed  of  a  griev- 
ous wound  by  Minerva,  plunges  back  into  the  fray  and 
fights  until  Aeneas  bids'  an  archer  check  his  destructive 
career.  But  this  man  is  slain  before  he  can  obey,  and  , 
J^S^  himself  would  have  been  killed  by  Diomedes  had 
not  Venus  snatched  him  away  from  the  battle-field.  While 


26  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

she  does  this,  Diomedes  wounds  her  in  the  hand,  causing 

her  to  drop  her  son,  whom  Apollo  rescues,  while  she 

hastens  off  to  obtain  from  Mars  the  loan  of  his  chariot, 

wherein  to  drive  back  to  Olympus.    There,  on  her  mother's 

breast,  Venus  sobs  out  the  tale  of  her  fright,  and,  when 

healed,  is  sarcastically  advised  to  leave  fighting  to  the 

other  gods  and  busy  herself  only  with  the  pleasures  of 

love. 

"the  sire  of  gods  and  men  superior  smiled. 
And,  calling  Venus,  thus  address'd  his  child: 
"  Not  these,  0  daughter,  are  thy  proper  cares. 
Thee  milder  arts  befit,  and  softer  wars; 
Sweet  smiles  are  thine,  and  kind  endearing  charms; 
To  Mars  and  Pallas  leave  the  deeds  of  arms." 

Having  enatehed  Aeneas  out  of  danger,  Apollo  con- 
veys him  to  Pergamus  to  be  healed,  leaving  on  the  battle- 
field in  his  stead  a  phantom  to  represent  him.  Then  Apollo 
challenges  Mars  to  avenge  Venus'  wound,  and  the  fray 
which  ensues  becomes  so  bloody  that  "Homeric  battle" 
has  been  ever  since  the  accepted  term  for  fierce  fighting. 
It  is  because  Mars  and  Bellona  protect  Hector  that  the 
Trojans  now  gain  some  advantage,  seeing  which,  Juno 
and  Minerva  hasten  to  the  rescue  of  the  Greeks.  Arriving 
on  the  battle-field,  Juno,  assuming  the  form  of  Stentor 
(whose  brazen  tones  have  become  proverbial),  directs  the 
Greek  onslaught.^  Meanwhile,  instigated  by  Minerva, 
Diomedes  attacks  Mars^who,  receiving  a  wound,  emits  such 
ja.  roar  of  pain  that  both  armies  shudder.  Then  he  too  is 
/miraculously  conveyed  to  Olympus,  where,  after  exhibit- 
ving  his  wound,  he  denounces  Minerva  who  caused  it.  But, 
although  Jupiter  sternly  rebukes  his  son,  he  takes  such 
prompt  measures  to  relieve  his  suffering,  that  Mars  is  soon 
seated  at  the  Olympian  board,  where  before  long  he  is 
joined  by  Juno  and  Minerva. 

Book  VI.  Meanwhile  the  battle  rages,  and  in  the 
midst  of  broken  chariots,  flying  steeds,  and  clouds  of  dust, 
we  descry  Menelaus  and  Agamemnon  doing  wonders  and 
hear  Nestor  cheering  on  the  Greeks.  The  Trojans  are 
about  to  yield  before  their  onslaught,  when  a  warrior 


THE  ILIAD  27 

warns  Hector,  and  the  just  returned  Aeneas,  of  their 
dire  peril.  After  conferring  hastily  with  his  friends, 
Hector  returns  to  Troy  to  direct  the  women  to  implore 
Minerva's  favor,  while  Aeneas  goes  to  support  their  men. 
At  the  Scaean  Gate,  Hector  meets  the  mothers,  wives,  and 
daughters  of  the  combatants,  who,  at  his  suggestion,  gladly 
prepare  costly  offerings  to  be  borne  to  Minerva's  temple 
in  solemn  procession. 

Then  Hector  himself  rushes  to  the  palace,  where,  re- 
fusing all  refreshment,  he  goes  in  quest  of  Paris,  whom 
he  finds  in  the  company  of  Helen  and  her  maids,  idly 
polishing  his  armor.  Indignantly  Hector  informs  his 
brother  the  Trojans  are  perishdng  without  the  walls  in\ 
defence  of  the  quarrel  he  kindled,  but  which  he  is  too  J 
cowardly  to  uphold!  Although  admitting  he  deserves  re| 
proaches,  Paris  declares  he  is  about  to  return  to  the 
battle-field,  for  Helen  has  just  rekindled  all  his  ardor. 
Seeing  Hector  does  not  answer,  Helen  timidly  expresses 
her  regret  at  having  caused  these  woes,  bitterly  wishing 
fate  had  bound  her  to  a  man  noble  enough  to  feel  and 
resent  an  insult.  With  a  curt  recommendation  to  send 
Paris  after  him  as  soon  as  possible.  Hector  hastens  off  to 
his  own  dwelling,  for  he  longs  to  embrace  his  wife  and 
son,  perhaps  for  the  last  time. 

There  he  finds  none  but  the  servants  at  home,  who 
inform  him  that  his  wife  has  gone  to  the  watch-tower, 
whither  he  now  hastens.  The  meeting  between  Hector  and 
Andromache,  her  tender  reproaches  at  the  risks  he  nms, 
and  her  passionate  reminder  that  since  Achilles  deprived 
her  of  her  kin  he  is  her  sole  protector,  form  the  most 
touching  passage  in  the  Iliad.  Gently  renundrng  heFhe 
muiF~go~where~Emor  calls,  and  sadly  admitting  he  is 
haunted  by  visions  of  fallen  Troy  and  of  her  plight  as 
captive.  Hector  adds  that  to  protect  her  from  such  a  fate 
he  must  fight.  But  when  he  holds  out  his  arms  to  his 
child,  the  little  one,  terrified  by  the  plumes  on  his  helmet, 
refuses  to  come  to  him  until  he  lays  it  aside.  Having  em- 
braced his  infant  son.  Hector  fervently  prays  he  may  grow 


:] 


28  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

up  to  defend  the  Trojans,  ere  he  hands  him  back  to 
Andromache,  from  whom  he  also  takes  tender  leave. 

Thus  having  spoke,  the  illustrious  chief  of  Troy 
Stretch'd  his  fond  arms  to  clasp  the  lovely  boy. 
The  habe  clung  crying  to  his  nurse's  breast, 
Scared  at  the  dazzling  helm  and  nodding  crest. 
With  secret  pleasure  each  fond  parent  smiled 
And  Hector  hasted  to  relieve  his  child. 
The  glittering  terrors  from  his  brows  unbound. 
And  placed  the  beaming  helmet  on  the  ground; 
Then  kiss'd  the  child,  and,  lifting  high  in  air, 
Thus  to  the  gods  preferr'd  a  father's  prayer: 
"  O  thou !  whose  glory  fills  the  ethereal  throne. 
And  all  ye  deathless  powers!  protect  my  son! 
(irant  him,  like  me,  to  purchase  just  renown. 
To  guard  the  Trojans,  to  defend  the  crown. 
Against  his  country's  foes  the  war  to  wage. 
And  rise  the  Hector  of  the  future  age! 
So  when  triumphant  from  successful  toils 
Of  heroes  slain  he  bears  the  reeking  spoils. 
Whole  hosts  may  hail  him  with  deserved  acclaim, 
And  say,  '  This  chief  transcends  his  father's  fame :  ' 
While  pleased  amidst  the  general  shouts  of  Troy, 
His  mother's  conscious  heart  o'erflows  with  joy." 

Then,  resuming  his  helmet,  Heetor  drives  out  of  the  Seaean 
Gate  and  is  joined  by  his  brother  Paris,  now  full  of 
ambition  to  fight. 

Booh  VII.  Joyfully  the  Trojans  hail  the  arrival  of 
both  brothers,  before  whose  fierce  onslaught  the  Greeks 
soon  fall  back  in  their  turn.  Meanwhile  Minerva  and 
Apollo,  siding  with  opposite  forces,  decide  to  inspire  the 
Trojans  to  challenge  the  Greeks  to  a  single  fight,  and, 
after  doing  this,  perch  upon  a  tree,  in  the  guise  of  vul- 
tures, to  watch  the  result.  Calling  for  a  suspension  of 
hostilities,  Heetor  dares  any  Greek  to  fight  him,  stipulat- 
ing that  the  arms  of  the  vanquished  shall  be  the  victor's 
prize,  but  that  his  remains  shall  receive  honorable  burial. 

Conscious  that  none  of  their  warriors — save  Achilles 

match  Hector,  the  Greeks  at  first  hesitate,  but,  among  the 
nine  who  finally  volunteer,  Ajax  is  chosen  by  lot  to  be 
the  Greek  champion.  Overjoyed  at  this  opportunity  to 
distinguish   himself,    Ajax    advances    with   boastful    con- 


THE  ILIAD  29 

fidence  to  meet  Hector,  who,  undismayed  by  his  size  and 
truculent  speeches,  enters  into  the  fight.  The  duel  is, 
however,  not  fought  to  a  finish,  for  the  heralds  interrupt 
it  at  nightfall,  pronouncing  the  champions  equal  in 
strength  and  skill  and  postponing  its  issue  until  the 
morrow. 

In  his  elation  Ajax  offers  thanks  to  Jupiter  before 
attending  a  baaquet,  where  Nestor  prudently  advises  his 
friends  to  fortify  their  camp  by  erecting  earthworks. 
While  the  Greeks  are  feasting,  the  Trojans  debate  whether 
it  would  not  be  wise  to  apologize  for  the  broken  truce  and 
restore  Helen  and  her  treasures  to  the  Greeks.  But  this 
suggestion  is  so  angrily  rejected  by  Paris  that  Priam 
suggests  they  propose  instead  an  armistice  of  sufSdent 
length  to  enable  both  parties  to  bury  their  dead. 

At  dawn,  therefore,  Trojan  heralds  visit  Agamemnon's 
tent  to  propose  a  truce,  and  offer  any  indemnification  save 
Helen's  return.  But,  although  the  Greeks  consent  to  an 
armistice,  they  feel  so  confident  of  success  that  they  re- 
fuse all-  offers  of  indemnity.  Both  parties  now  bury  their 
dead,  a  sight  witnessed  by  the  gods,  who,  gazing  down 
from  Olympus,  become  aware  of  the  earthen  ramparts 
erected  during  the  night  to  protect  the  Greek  fleet.  This 
sight  prompts  Neptune  to  express  jealous  feais  lest  these 
may  eclipse  the  walls  he  built  around  Troy,  but  Jupiter 
pacifies  bim  by  assuring  him  he  can  easily  bury  them  be- 
neath the  sand  as  soon  as  the  war  is  over. 

Booh  VIII.    At  daybreak  Jupiter  summons  the  gods, 
forbidding  them  to  lend  aid  to  eitibier  party,  under  penalty 
of  perpetual  imprisonment  in  Tartarus.    Having  decreed' 
this,  Jupiter  betakes  himself  to  Mount  Ida,  whence  he 
proposes  to  watch  aU  that  is  going  on.     It  is  there,  at 
noon,  that  he  takes  out  his  golden  balances,  and  places  in 
opposite  scales  the  fates  of  Troy  and  Greece.    A  moments 
later  a  loud  clap  of  thunder  proclaims  the  day's  advantage  1 
will  remain  with  the  Trojans,  whose  leader.  Hector,  is' 
protected    by    Jupiter's    thunderbolts    each    time    that 
Diomedes  attacks  him.    This  manifestation  of  divine  favor 


30  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

strikes  terror  in  the  hearts  of  the  Greeks,  but  encourages 
the  Trojans.  They,  therefore,  hotly  pursue  the  Greeks  to 
their  ramparts,  which  Hector  urges  them  to  scale  when 
the  foe  seeks  refuge  behind  them. 

Seeing  the  peril'  of  the  Greeks,  Juno  urges  Agamemnon 
to-  visit  Ulysses'  tent,  and  there  proclaim,  in  such  loud 
tones  that  Achilles  cannot  fail  to  overhear  him,  that  their 
vessels  will  soon  be  in  flames.  Then,  fearing  for  his  com- 
panions, Agamemnon  prays  so  fervently  for  aid  that  an 
eagle  flies  over  the  camp  and  drops  a  lamb  upon  the 
Greek  altar.  This  omen  of  good  fortune  renews  the  cour- 
age of  the  Greeks,  and  stimulates  the  archer  Teucer  to 
cause  new  havoc  in  the  Trojan  ranks  with  his  unfailing 
arrows,  until  Hector  hurls  a  rock,  which  lays  him  low,  and 
rushes  into  the  Greek  camp.  Jje^^^,-^      (^^-.. 

Full  of  anxiety  for  their  proteges,  Juno  and  Minerva 
forget  Jupiter's  injunctions,  and  are  about  to  hurry  off 
to  their  rescue,  when  the  king  of  the  gods  bids  them 
stop,  assuring  them  the  Greeks  will  suffer  defeat,  untU, 
Patroclus  having  fallen,  Achilles  arises  to  avenge  him. 
When  the  setting  sun  signals  the  close  of  the  day's  fight, 
although  the  Greefe  are  still  in  possession  of  their  tents, 
the  Trojans  bivouac  Jn  the  plain,  just  outside  the  trench, 
to  prevent  their  escape. 

Book  IX.  Such  anxiety  reigns  in  the  Greek  camp  that 
Agamemnon  holds  a  council  in  his  tent.  There,  almost 
choked  by  tears,  he  declares  no  alternative  remains  save 
flight,  but  Diomedes  so  hotly  contradicts  him  that  the 
Greeks  decide  to  remain.  At  Nestor's  suggestion,  Aga- 
memnon then  tries  to  atone  for  his  insult  to  Achilles  by 
gifts  and  apologies,  instructing  the  bearers  to  promise  the 
return  of  the  captive  and  to  offer  an  alliance  with  one  of 
Ms  daughters,  if  Achilles  will  only  come  to  their  aid. 
Wending  their  way  through  the  moonlit  camp,  these  emis- 
saries find  Achilles  idly  listening  to  Patroclus'  music. 
After  delivering  the  message,  Ulysses  makes  an  eloquent 
appeal  in  behalf  of  his  countrymen,  but  Achilles  coldly 
rejoins  the  Greeks  will  have  to  defend  themselves  as  he  is 


THE  ILIAD  31 

about  to  depart.  Such  is  his  resentment  that  he  refuses 
to  forgive  Agamemnon,  although  his  aged  tutor  urges  him 
to  be  brave  enough  to  conquer  himself.  Most  reluctantly 
therefore  Ulysses  and  Ajax  return,  and,  although  sleep 
hovers  over  Achilles'  tent,  dismay  reigns  within  that  of 
Agamemnon,  until  Diomedes  vows  they  will  yet  prove 
they  do  not  need  Achilles'  aid. 

Book  X.  Exhausted  by  the  day's  efforts,  most  of  the 
Greeks  have  fallen  asleep,  when  Agamemnon,  after  con- 
versing for  a  while  with  Menelaus,  arouses  Nestor,  Ulysses, 
and  Diomedes  to  inspect  their  posts.  It  is  in  the  course 
of  these  rounds  that  Nestor  suggests'  one  of  their  number 
steal  into  the  Trojan  camp  to  discover  their  plans.  This 
suggestion  is  eagerly  seized  by  Diomedes  and  Ulysses,  who, 
on  their  way  to  the  enemy's  camp,  encounter  Dolon,  a 
Trojan  spy,  who  is  coming  to  find  out  what  they  are 
planning.  Crouching  among  the  corpses,  Diomedes  and 
Ulysses  capture  this  man,  from  whom  they  wring  all  the 
information  they,  require,  together  with  exact  diregi 
to  find  the  steeds  of  Rhesus.  To  secure  this  prize,  Ulyi 
and  Diomedes  steal  into  the  Trojan  camp,  where,  after 
slaying  a  few  sleepers,  they  capture  the  steeds  and  escape 
in  safety,  thanks  to  Minerva's  aid.  On  seeing  his  friends 
emerge  from  the  gloom  with  so  glorious  a  prize,  Nestor, 
who  has  been  anxiously  watching,  expresses  great  joy,  and 
invites  his  companions  to  refresh  themselves  after  their 
exertions. 

Old  Nestor  first  perceived  the  approaching  sound, 
Bespeaking  thus  the  Grecian  peers  around: 
"Methinks  the  noise  of  trampling  steeds  I  hear, 
Thickening  this  way,  and  gathering  on  my  ear; 
Perhaps  some  horses  of  the  Trojan  breed 
(So  may,  ye  gods!  my  pious  hopes  succeed) 
The  great  lydides  and  Ulysses  bear, 
Betum'd  triumphant  with  this  prize  of  war." 

BooTt  XI.  At  daybreak  Jupiter  sends  Discord  to  waken 
the  Greeks  and,  when  they  appear  in  battle  array,  hurls  a 
thunder-bolt  as  a  signal  for  the  fight  to  begin.    Stimulated 


32  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

by  Hector's  ardor,  the  Trojans  now  pounce  like  ravening 
wolves  upon  their  foes,  but,  in  spite  of  their  courage,  are 
driven  back  almost  to  the  Scean  Gate.  To  encourage 
Hector,  however,  Jupiter  warns  him,  that  once  Agamem- 
non is  wounded  the  tide  will  turn.  Soon  after,  a  javelin 
strikes  Agamemnon,  and  Hector,  seeing  him  borne  to  his 
\tent,  urges  his  men  on  with  new  vehemence  until  he 
forces  back  the  Greeks  in  his  turn.  In  the  ensuing  medley 
both  Diomedes  and  Uly^es  are  wounded,  and  Achilles, 
moodily  lounging  on  the  prow  of  his  ship,  sees  Nestor 
bring  them  into  camp.  Wishing  to  ascertain  who  has  been 
hurt,  he  sends  Patroclus  to  find  out.  Thus  this  warrior 
learns  how  many  of  the  Greeks  are  wounded,  and  is  per- 
suaded to  try  to  induce  Achilles  to  assist  their  country- 
men, or  at  least  to  allow  his  friend  to  lead  his  forces  to 
their  rescue. 

Book  XII.  Although  the  Trojans  are  now  fiercely  try- 
ing to  enter  the  Greek  camp,  their  efforts  are  baffled  until 
Hector,  dismounting  from  his  chariot,  attacks  the  mighty 
wall  which  the  gods  are  to  level  as  soon  as  the  war  is  over. 
Thanks  to  his  efforts,  its  gates  are  battered  in,  and  the 
Trojans  pour  into  the  Greek  camp,  where  many  duels 
occur,  and  where  countless  warriors  are  slain  on  both 


Book  XIII.  Having  effected  an  entrance  into  the 
camp,  the  Trojans  rush  forward  to  set  fire  to  the  ships, 
hoping  thus  to  prevent  the  escape  of  their  foes.  Perceiv- 
ing the  peril  of  the  Greeks,  Neptune,  in  the  guise  of  a 
priest,  urges  them  to  stand  fast. 

Then  with  his  sceptre,  that  the  deep  controls, 

He  touched  the  chiefs  and  steel'd  their  manly  souls: 

Strength,  not  their  own,  the  touch  divine  imparts, 

Prompts  their  light  limbs,  and  swells  their  daring  hearts. 

Then,  as  a  falcon  from  the  rooky  height, 

Her  quarry  seen,  impetuous  at  the  sight, 

forth-springing  instant,  darts  herself  from  high, 

Shoots  on  the  wing,  and  skims  along  the  sky: 

Such,  and  so  swift,  the  power  of  ocean  flew; 

The  wide  horizon  sliut  him  from  their  view. 


THE  ILIAD  33 

But  the  advaxLtage  does  not  remain  continuously  with 
the  Trojans,  for  Hector  is  soon  beaten  back,  and,  seeing 
his  people's  peril,  again  hotly  reviles  Paris,  whose  crime 
has  entailed  all  this  bloodshed. 

Booh  XIV.  In  the  midst  of  the  gloom  caused  by  a 
new  irruption  of  the  Trojans  in  the  Greek  camp,  Nestor 
hastens  to  the  spot  where  the  wounded  Agamemnon, 
Ulysses,  and  Diomedes  are  watching  the  fight.  But, 
although  Agamemnon  renews  his  former  suggestion  that 
they  depart,  Diomedes  and  Ulysses,  scorning  it,  prepare 
to  return  to  the  fray,  in  spite  of  their  wounds.  This  re- 
newal of  Greek  courage  pleases  Juno,  who,  fearing 
Jupiter  will  again  interfere  in  behalf  of  the  Trojans, 
proceeds  by  coquettish  wiles  and  with  the  aid  of  the  God 
of  Sleep  to  lull  him  into  a  state  of  forgetfulness.  This 
feat  accomplished,  Juno  sends  Sleep  to  urge  the  Greeks 
to  make  the  most  of  this  respite,  and,  thus  stimulat^, 
they  fight  on,  until  Ajax  hurls  a  rock  which  lays  Hector) 
low.  But,  before  he  and  his  companions  can  secure  this 
victim.  Hector  is  rescued  by  his  men,  who  speedily  con- 
vey him  to  the  river,  where  plentiful  bathing  soon  restores 
his  senses. 

Book  XV.    Thus  temporarily  deprived  of  a  leader,  the 
Trojans   fall   back   to   the   place  where  they   left  their 
chariots.     They  are  just  mounting  in  confusion  in  order 
to  flee,  when  Jupiter,  rousing  from  his  nap,  and  realizing 
how  he  has  been  tricked,  discharges  his  wrath  upon  Juno's 
head.    Hearing  her  attribute  the  blame  to  Neptune,  Jupiter 
wrathfuUy  orders  his  brother  back  to  his  realm  and  de- 
spatches Apollo  to  cure  Hector.     Then  he  reiterates  that\ 
the    Greeks    shall    be   worsted   until    Patroclus,    wearing! 
AchiUes'  armor,  takes  part  in  the  fray.     He  adds  that/ 
after  slaying  his  son  Sarpedon,  this  hero  will  suceumb\ 
beneath  Hector's  sword,  and  that,  to  avenge  Patroclus' 
death,  Achilles  will  slay  Hector  and  thus  insure  the  fall 
of  Troy. 

Once  more  the  Trojans  drive  back  the  Greeks,  who 
would  have  given  up  in  despair  had  not  Jupiter  eneour- 

3 


S4  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

aged  them  by  a  clap  of  thunder.  Hearing  the  Trojans 
again  burst  into  camp,  Patroclus  rushes  out  of  Achilles' 
tent  and  sees  Teucer  winging  one  deadly  arrow  after 
another  among  the  foe.  But,  in  spite  of  his  skiU,  and 
although  Ajax  fights  like  a  lion  at  bay,  Hector  and  the 
Trojans  press  fiercely  forward,  torch  in  hand,  to  fire  the 
|Greek  ships. 

(.     Book  XVI.    Appalled  by  this  sight,  Patrodus  rushes 
back  to  AchiUes,  and,  after  vainly  urging  him  to  fight, 
persuades  him  to  lend  him  his  armor,  chariot,  and  men. 
But,  even  while  furthering  his  friend's  departure,  Achilles 
charges  bim  neither  to  slay  Hector  nor  take  Troy,  as  he 
wishes  to  reserve  that  double  honor  for  himself.     It  is 
just   as  the   first  vessels   are   enveloped   in   flames  that 
Patroclus  rushes  to  the  rescue  of  his  countrymen.    At  the 
sight  of  a  warrior  whom  they  mistake  for  Achilles,  and  at 
yfihis  influx  of  fresh  -troops,  the  Trojans  beat  a  retreat, 
/and  the  Greeks,  flred  with  new  courage,  pursue  them  across 
/  the  plain  and  to  the  very  gates  of  Troy.    Such  is  Patroclus' 
I  ardor  that,  forgetting  Achilles'  injunctions,  he  is  about  to 
I    attack  Hector,  when  Sarpedon  challenges  him  to  a  duel. 
Knowing  this  fight  wiQ  prove  fatal  to  his  beloved  son, 
I    Jupiter  causes  a  bloody  dew  to  fall  upon  earth,  and  de- 
\  spatches  Sleep  and  Death  to  take  charge  of  his  remains, 
^  which  they  are  to  convey  first  to  Olympus  to  receive  a 
fatherly  kiss  and  then  to  Lycia  for  burial.    No  sooner  is 
Sarpedon  slain  than  a  grim  fight  ensues  over  his  spoil 
and  remains,  but  while  the  Greeks  secure  his  armor,  his 
corpse  is  borne  away  by  Apollo,  who,  after  purifying  it 
from  all  battle  soil,  entrusts  it  to  Sleep  and  Death. 

Meantime,  renewing  his  pursuit  of  the  Trojans,  Patro- 
clus ia  about  to  scale  the  walls  of  Troy,  when  Apollo  re- 
minds him  the  city  is  not  to  fall  a  prey  either  to  him  or 
to  his  friend.  Then,  in  the  midst  of  a  duel  in  which 
Patroclus  engages  with  Hector,  Apollo  snatches  the  helmet 
off  the  Greek  hero's  head,  leaving  him  thus  exposed  to 
his  foe's  deadly  blows.  The  dying  Patroclus,  therefore, 
declares  that  had  not  the  gods  betrayed  him  he  would 


THE  ILIAD  35 

have  triumphed,  and  predicts  that  Achilles  will  avenge 
his  death.  Meantime,  pleased  with  having  slain  so  re- 
doubtable a  foe.  Hector  makes  a  dash  to  secure  Achilles' 
chariot  and  horses,  but  fails  because  the  driver  (Auto- 
medon)  speeds  away. 

Book  XVII.  On  seeing  Patroclus  fall,  Menelaus.rushes 
forward  to  defend  his  remains  and  rescue  Achilles'  armor 
from  the  foe.  Warned  of  this  move,  Hector  abandons  the 
vain  pursuit  of  Achilles'  chariot,  and  returns  to  claim  his 
spoil.  He  has  barely  secured  it  when  Menelaus  and  Ajax 
attack  him,  and  a  mad  battle  takes  place  over  Patroclus'  w       [ 

remains,  while  Achilles' JjacaeajEfiep  for  the  beloved  youth  l/\A/tt.AArv*4. 
who  so  often  caressed  them. 

Book  XVIII.  No  sooner  is  the  death  of  Patroclus 
known  in  Achilles'  tent  than  the  female  captives  wail, 
while  the  hero  groans  so  loudly  that  Thetis  hears  him. 
Rising  from  the  depths  of  the  sea,  she  hurries  to  his  side, 
regretting  his  brief  life  should  be  marred  by  so  much  ^ 

sorrow.  Then,  hearing  biTn  swear  to  avenge  his  friend, 
she  entreats  him  to  wait  until  the  morrow,  so  she  can 
procure  him  armor  from  Vulcan.  Having  obtained  this 
promise,  she  hastens  off  to  visit  the  god  and  bespeak  his 
aid  in  behalf  of  her  son. 

Meanwhile  the  Greeks,  who  are  trying  to  bear  away 
Patroclus'  remains,  are  so  hard  pressed  by  the  Trojans 
that  Juno  sends  word  Achilles  must  interfere.    Hampered 
by  a  lack  of  armor  and  by  the  promise  to  his  mother,  the 
hero  ventures  only  as  far,  as  the  trench,  where,  however,  ^ 
he  utters  so  threatening  a  war-cry  that  the  Trojans  flee,  and  | 
the  Greeks  are  thus  able  to  bring  Patroclus'  body  safely  ' 
into  camp,  just  as  the  sun  sets  and  the  day's  fighting  ends. 

Having  unharnessed  their  steeds,  the  Trojans  assemble 
to  consider  whether  it  will  not  be  best  to  retreat  within 
their  walls,  for  they  know  Achilles  will  appear  on  the 
morrow  to  avenge  Patroclus.  But  Hector  so  vehemently 
insists  that  they  maintain  the  advantage  gained,  that  they 
©amp  on  the  plain,  where  Jupiter  predicts  his  wife's  wish 
will  be  granted  and  her  favorite  Achilles  win  great  glory. 


36  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

It  is  in  the  course  of  that  night  that  Thetis  visits 
Vulcan's  forge  and  in  the  attitude  of  a  suppliant  im- 
plores the  divine  blacksmith  to  make  an  armor  for  her 
son.  Not  only  does  Vulcan  consent,  but  hurries  off  to 
his  anvil,  where  he  and  Cyclops  labor  to  such  good  pur- 
pose that  a  superb  suit  of  armor  is  ready  by  dawn. 

Book  XIX.  Aurora  has  barely  risen  from  the  bosom 
of  the  sea,  when  Thetis  enters  her  son's  tent,  bearing 
these  wonderful  weapons.  Finding  him  still  weeping  over 
his  friend's  remains,  Thetis  urges  him  to  rouse  himself 
and  fight.  At  the  sight  of  the  armor  she  brings,  AchiUes' 
ardor  is  so  kindled  that  he  proclaims  he  will  avenge  his 
,friend.  Pleased  to  think  the  Greeks  will  have  the  help  of 
this  champion,  Agamemnon  humbly  apologizes  for  the  past, 
1  proffering  gifts  and  a  feast,  which  latter  Achilles  refuses 
to  attend  as  long  as  Patroclus  is  unavenged.  Before  enter- 
ing into  battle,  however,  our  hero  implores  his  divine  steeds 
to  do  their  best,  only  to  be  warned  by  one  of  them  that, 
although  they  will  save  him  to-day,  the  time  is  fast  com- 
ing when  he  too  will  fall  victim  to  the  anger  of  the  gods. 
Undaunted  by  this  prophecy,  Achilles  jumps  into  his 
chariot  and  sets  out  for  the  fray,  uttering  his  blood- 
curdling war-cry. 

With  unabated  rage — "  So  let  it  be ! 

Portents  and  prodigies  are  lost  on  me. 

I  know  my  fate:  to  die,  to  see  no  more 

My  much-loved  parents  and  my  native  shore — 

Enough — ^when  heaven  ordains,  I  sink  in  night: 

Now  perish  Troy!  "  He  said,  and  rush'd  to  fight. 

Book  XX.  The  gods,  assembled  on  Mount  Olympus, 
are  told  by  Jupiter  that,  whereas  he  intends  merely  to 
witness  the  fight,  they  may  all  take  part  in  it,  provided 
they  remember  Achilles  is  to  reap  the  main  honors  of 
the  day.  Hearing  this,  the  gods  dart  off  to  side  with 
Troy  and  Greece,  as  their  inclinations  prompt,  and  thus 
take  an  active  part  in  the  battle,  for  which  Jupiter  gives 
the  signal  by  launching  a  thunder-bolt.  Not  only  do  the 
gods  fight  against  each  other  on  this  day,  but  use  all  their 
efforts  to  second  their  favorites  in  every  way.     Before 


THE  ILIAD  37 

long,  however,  it  becomes  so  evident  they  are  merely  delay- 
ing the  inevitable  issue,  that  they  agree  to  withdraw  from 
the  field,  leaving  mortals  to  settle  the  matter  themselves. 

There  are  vivid  descriptions  of  sundry  encounters,  in- 
cluding one  between  Achilles  and  Aeneas,  wherein  both 
heroes  indulge  in  boastful  speeches  before  coming  to  blows. 
At  one  time,  when  Aeneas  is  about  to  get  the  worst  of  it, 
the  gods,  knowing  he  is  reserved  for  greater  things,  snatch 
him  from  the  battle-field  and  convey  him  to  a  place  of 
safety.  Thus  miraculously  deprived  of  his  antagonist, 
Achilles  resumes  his  quest  for  Hector,  who  has  hitherto 
been  avoiding  him,  but  who,  seeing  one  of  his  brothers 
fall  beneath  the  Greek's  blows,  meets  him  bravely.  But, 
as  the  moment  of  Hector's  death  has  not  yet  come,  the 
gods  separate  these  two  fighters,  although  their  hatred  is 
such  that,  whenever  they  catch  a  glimpse  of  each  other, 
they  rush  forward  to  renew  the  fight. 

Book  XXI.  Fleeing  before  the  Greeks,  the  Trojans 
reach  the  Xanthus  River,  into  which  AchiUes  plunges 
after  them,  and  where,  after  killing  hosts  of  victims,  he 
secures  a  dozen  prisoners  to  sacrifice  on  his  friend's  tomb. 
Hearing  AchiUes  refuse  mercy  to  a  young  Trojan,  and 
enraged  because  he  has  choked  his  bed  with  corpses,  the 
River  God  suddenly  rises  to  chide  him,  but  Achilles  is 
now  in  so  defiant  a  mood  that  he  is  ready  to  fight  even 
the  gods  themselves.  In  spite  of  his  couragM  heT^ald, 
however,  have  been  drowned,  had  not  NopTOTOand 
MiEe^acome  to  his  rescue,  fighting  the  waters  with  fire, 
and  assuring  him  Hector  will  soon  lie  lifeless  at  his  feet. 

He  ceased;  wide  conflagration  blazing  round; 
The  bubbled  waters  yield  a  hissing  sound. 
As  when  the  flames  beneath  a  cauldron  rise, 
To  melt  the  fat  of  some  rich  sacrifice. 
Amid  the  fierce  embrace  of  circling  fires 
The  waters  foam,  the  heavy  smoke  aspires: 
So  boils  the  imprison'd  flood,  forbid  to  flow, 
And  choked  with  vapors  feels  his  bottom  glow. 

The  course  of  this  day's  fighting  is  anxiously  watched 
by  old  King  Priam  from  the  top  of  the  Trojan  ramparts. 


/: 


88  THE  BOOK  OP  THE  EPIC 

and,  when  lie  sees  Achilles'  forces  pursuing  his  fleeing  army 
across  the  plaia,  he  orders  the  gates  opened  to  admit  the 
fugitives,  and  quickly  closed  again  so  the  foe  cannot  enter 
too.  To  facilitate  this  move,  Apollo  assumes  the  guise  of 
Hector  and  decoys  Achilles  away  from  the  gates  until  the 
bulk  of  the  Trojan  army  is  safe. 

Book  XXII.  Meantime  the  real  Hector  is  stationed  be- 
side the  gate,  and  Achilles,  suddenly  perceiving  he  has  been 
pursuing  a  mere  phantom,  darts  with  a  cry  of  wrath 
'toward  Ms  foe.  Seeing  him  coming.  Hector's  parents  im- 
plore him  to  seek  refuge  within  the  walls,  but  the  young 
man  is  too  brave  to  accept  such  a  proposal.  Still,  when 
he  sees  the  fire  in  Achilles'  eyes,  he  cannot  resist  an  in- 
voluntary recoil,  and  turning,  flees,  with  Achilles  in  close 
^  pursuit,  hurling  taunts  at  him. 

These  warriors  circle  the  citadel,  until  the  gods,  looking 

on,  knowing  they  can  no  longer  defer  Hector's  death,  but 

wishing  it  to  be  glorious,  send  .Apollo  down  to  urge  him  to 

fight.     In  the  guise  of  one  of  Hector's  brothers,  this  god 

offers  to  aid  him,  so,  thus  supported.  Hector  turns  to  meet 

Achilles,  with  whom  before  fighting  he  tries  to  bargain  that 

the  victor  shall  respect  the  remains  of  the  vanquished.  But 

/Achilles  refuses  to  listen  to  terms,  and  in  the  course  of  the 

(ensuing  duel  is  ably  seconded  by  Minerva,  while  Hector, 

I  who  depends  upon  his  supposed  brother  to  supply  him  with 

Veapons  when  his  fail,  is  basely  deserted  by  Apollo. 

Seeing  him  disarmed,  Achilles  finally  deals  him  a  deadly 
blow,  and,  although  the  dying  hero  tries  to  abate  his  re- 
sentment, loudly  proclaims  he  shall  be  a  prey  to  vultures 
and  wolves.  Hearing  this.  Hector  curses  his  conqueror 
and  dies,  predicting  Achilles  shall  be  slaiu  by  Paris.  His 
victim  having  breathed  his  last,  Achilles  ties  him  by  the 
heels  to  his  chariot,  and  then  drives  off  with  Hector's  noble 
head  trailing  in  the  dust ! 

Meantime  Andromache,  busy  preparing  for  her  hus- 
band's return,  is  so  startled  by  loud  cries  that  she  rushes 
off  to  the  ramparts  to  find  out  what  has  oceurredi  Arriving 
there  just  in  time  to  see  her  husband  dragged  away,  she 


\\ 


THE  ILIAD  39 

faints  at  the  pitiful  sight,  and,  on  coming  back  to  her 
senses,  bewails  her  sad  fate,  foresees  an  unhappy  fate  for 
her  infant  son,  and  r^rets  not  being  able  to  bury  her 
beloved  husband. 

Book  XXIII.  On  reaching  his  tent  with  his  victim, 
Achilles  drags  it  around  Patroclus'  remains,  apostrophiz- 
ing him  and  assuring  bim  that  twelve  Trojans  shall  be 
executed  on  his  pyre,  while  his  slayer's  body  shaU  be  a 
prey  to  the  dogs.  Then,  having  cast  Hector's  corpse  on 
the  refuse  heap,  Achilles  assembles  the  Greeks  in  his  tent 
for  a  funeral  repast,  after  which  they  retire,  leaving  him 
to  mourn.  That  night  he  is  visited  by  Patroclus'  spirit, 
which  warns  him  he  will  soon  have  to  die,  and  bespeaks 
funeral  rites.  This  vision  convinces  AqhiUes  that  the 
human  soul  does  not  perish  with  the  body,  and  impels 
him  to  rouse  his  companions  at  dawn  to  erect  a  huge 
pyre  on  the  shore,  where  innumerable  victims  are  to  be 
sacrificed  to  satisfy  his  friend's  spirit.  Then  he  renews 
his  promise  that  Hector's  body  shall  be  a  prey  to  the  dogs, 
little  suspecting  that  Venus  has  mounted  guard  over  it, 
so  that  no  harm  may  befall  it. 

In  describing  the  building  and  lighting  of  the  pyre, 
the  poet  relates  how  the  flames  were  fanned  by  opposite 
winds,  depicts  the  sacrifices  offered,  the  funeral  games 
celebrated,  and  explains  how  the  ashes  were  finally  placed 
in  an  urn,  where  those  of  Achilles  were  in  tim.e  to  mingle 
with  those  of  his  friend. 

Booh  XXIV.  Although  most  of  the  Greek  warriors  are 
resting  after  the  strenuous  pleasures  of  the  day,  Achilles 
weeps  in  his  tent  until  daybreak,  when  he  harnesses  his 
horses  to  his  chariot  and  again  drags  Hector's  body  around 
Patroclus'  tomb,  little  suspecting  how  Venus  and  Apollo 
guard  it  from  all  harm.  It  is  only  on  the  twelfth  day  after 
Patroclus'  death,  that  the  gods  interfere  in  behalf  of  the 
Trojans,  by  sending  Iris  to  Priam  to  guide  him  to  Achilles' 
tent,  where  they  assure  him  his  prayers  will  obtain  hia 
son's  body.  The  rainbow  goddess  not  only  serves  as  guide 
to   the   mourning   father,   but   brings  him   unseen   into 


40  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Achilles'  tent,  where,  falling  at  the  hero's  feet,  the  aged 
/  Priam  sues  in  such  touching  terms  that  the  Greek  warrior's 
C  heart  melts  and  tears  stream  down  his  cheeks.  Not  only- 
does  he  grant  Priam's  request,  but  assures  him  he  is  far 
happier  than  Peleu®,  since  he  still  has  several  sons  to 
cheer  liim  although  Hector  has  been  slain. 

These  words  soft  pity  in  the  chief  inspire, 
Touch'd  with  the  dear  remembrance  of  his  sire. 
Then  with  his  hand  (as  prostrate  still  he  lay) 
The  old  man's  cheek  he  gently  tum'd  away. 
Now  each  by  turns  indulged  the  gush  of  woe; 
And  now  the  mingled  tides  together  flow: 
This  low  on  earth,  that  gently  bending  o'er; 
A  father  one,  and  one  a  son  deplore: 
But  great  Achilles  different  passions  rend. 
And  now  his  sire  he  mourns,  and  now  his  friend. 
The  infectious  softness  through  the  heroes  ran 
One  universal  solemn  shower  began; 
They  bore  as  heroes,  but  they  felt  as  man. 

Still  guided  by  Iris,  Priam  conveys  the  body  of  his  son 

back  to  Troy,  where  his  mother,  wife,  and  the  other  Trojan 

women  utter  a  touching  lament.     Then  a  funeral  pyre  is 

built,  and  the  Iliad  of  Homer  closes  with  brave  Hector's 

obsequies. 

All  Troy  then  moves  to  Priam's  court  again, 
A  solemn,  silent,  melancholy  train : 
Assembled  there,  from  pious  toil  they  rest. 
And  sadly  shared  the  last  sepulchral  feast. 
Such  honors  Ilion  to  her  hero  paid. 
And  peaceful  slept  the  mighty  Hector's  shade. 

THE  ODYSSEY 

Booh  I.  Homer's  second  great  epic  covers  a  period  of 
forty-two  days.  After  the  opening  invocation  he  proceeds 
to  relate  the  adventures  of  Ulysses.  Nearly  ten  years 
have  elapsed  since  the  taking  of  Troy,  when  the  gods  look- 
ing down  from  Olympus  behold  him — sole  sturvivor  of  his 
troop — stranded  on  the  Island  of  Calypso.  After  some 
mention  of  the  fate  of  the  other  Greeks,  Jupiter  decrees 
that  Ulysses  shall  return  to  Ithaca,  where  many  suitors 
are  besieging  his  wife  Penelope.     In  obedience  with  this 


THE  ODYSSEY  41 

decree,  Pallas  (Minerva)  dons  golden  sandals — ^which  per- 
mit her  to  flit  with  equal  ease  over  land  and  sea — and  visits 
Ithaca,  where  Ulysses'  son,  Telemachus,  mournfully  views 
the  squandering  of  his  father's  wealth.  Here  she  is  hos- 
pitably received,  and,  after  some  convBrsation,  urges 
Telemachus  to  visit  the  courts  of  Nestor  and  Menelaus  to 
inquire  of  these  kings  whether  his  father  is  dead. 

Telemachus  has  just  promised  to  carry  out  this  sug- 
gestion, when  the  suitors'  bard  begins  the  recital  of  the 
woes  which  have  befallen  the  various  Greek  chiefs  on  their 
return  from  Troy.  These  sad  strains  attract  Penelope, 
who  passionately  beseeches  the  baard  not  to  enhance  her 
sorrows  by  his  songs! 

Assuming  a  tone  of  authority  for  the  first  time,  Tele- 
machus bids  his  mother  retire  aad  pray,  then,  addressing 
the  suitors,  vows  that  unless  they  depart  he  will  call 
down  upon  them  the  vengeance  of  the  gods.  These  words 
are  resented  by  these  men,  wJio  continue  their  revelry 
until  the  night,  when  Telemachus  retires,  to  dream  of  his 
projected  journey. 

Book  II.  With  dawn,  Telemachus  rises  and  betakes 
himself  to  the  market-place,  where  ia  public  council  he 
complains  of  the  suitors'  depredations,  and  announces  he 
is  about  to  depart  in  quest  of  his  sire.  In  reply  to  his 
denunciations  the  suitors  accuse  Penelope  of  deluding  them, 
instancing  how  she  promised  to  choose  a  husband  as  soon 
as  she  had  finished  weaving  a  winding  sheet  for  her 
father-in-law  Laertea.  But,  instead  of  completing  this 
task  as  soon  as  possible,  she  ravelled  by  night  the  work 
done  during  the  day,   until  the  suitors  discovered  the 

trick. 

"  The  work  she  plied;  but,  studious  of  delay. 
By  night  reversed  the  labors  of  the  day. 
While  thrice  the  sun  his  annual  journey  made. 
The  conscious  lamp  the  midnight  fraud  survey'd; 
Unheard,  unseen,  three  years  her  arts  prevail: 
The  fourth,  her  maid  unfolds  the  amazing  tale. 
We  saw  as  unperceived  we  took  our  stand. 
The  backward  labors  of  her  faithless  hand " " 

'  The  quotations  of  the  Odyssey  are  taken  from  Pope's  translation. 


42  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC" 

They  now  suggest  that  Telemachus  send  Penelope  back 
to  her  father,  but  the  youth  indignantly  refuses,  and  the 
council  closes  while  he  prays  for  vengeance.  That  he  has 
not  been  unheard  is  proved  by  the  appearance  of  two 
eag'les,  which  peck  out  the  eyes  of  some  of  the  spectators. 
This  is  interpreted  by  an  old  man  as  an  omen  of  Ulysses' 
speedy  return,  and  he  admonishes  all  present  to  prove 
faithful,  lest  they  incur  a  master's  wrath. 

The  assembly  having  dispersed,  Telemachus  hastens 
down  to  the  shore,  where  Minerva  visits  him  in  the  guise 
of  his  tutor  Mentor,  and  instructs  him  to  arrange  for 
secret  departure.  Telemachus,  therefore,  returns  to  the 
palace,  where  the  suitors  are  preparing  a  new  feast.  Re- 
fusing to  join  their  revels,  he  seeks  his  old  nurse  Eurycleia, 
to  whom  he  entrusts  the  provisioning  of  his  vessel,  bidding 
her  if  possible  conceal  his  departure  from  Penelope  for 
twelve  days.  Meantime,  in  the  guise  of  Telemachus, 
Minerva  scours  the  town  to  secure  skilful  oarsmen,  and  at 
sunset  has  a  vessel  ready  to  sail.  Then,  returning  to  the 
palace,  she  enchains  the  senses  of  the  suitors  in  such  deep 
slumber  that  Telemachus  effects  his  departure  unseen,  and 
embarking  with  Mentor  sets  sail,  his  vessel  speeding 
smoothly  over  the  waves  all  night. 

Book  III.  At  sunrise  Telemachus  reaches  Pylos  and 
finds  Nestor  and  his  friends  offering  a  sacrifice  on  the 
shore.  Joining  the  feasters, — ^who  gather  by  fifties  around 
tables  groaning  beneath  the  weight  of  nine  oxen  apiece, — 
Telemachus  makes  known  his  name  and  errand.  In  return, 
Nestor  mentions  the  deaths  of  Patroclus  and  Achilles,  the 
taking  of  Troy,  and  the  Greeks'  departure  from  its  shores. 
He  adds  that,  the  gods  having  decreed  they  should  not 
reach  home  without  sore  trials,  half  the  army  lingered  be- 
hind with  Agamemnon  to  offer  propitiatory  sacrifices, 
while  the  rest  sailed  on.  Among  these  were  Nestor  and 
Ulysses,  but,  while  the  former  pressed  on  and  reached 
home,  the  latter,  turning  back  to  pacify  the  gods,  was 
seen  no  more !  Since  his  return,  Nestor  has  been  saddened 
by  the  death  of  Agamemnon,  slain  on  his  arrival  at  Mycenae 


THE  ODYSSEY  43 

by  his  faithless  wife  Clytenmestra  and  her  lover  Aegistheus. 
His  brother,  Menelaus,  more  fortunate,  has  recently 
reached  home,  having  been  long  delayed  in  Egypt  by 
contrary  winds. 

"While  Nestor  recounts  these  tales,  day  declines,  so  he 
invites  Telemachus  to  his  palace  for  the  night,  promising 
to  send  him  on  the  morrow  to  Sparta,  where  he  can  question 
Menelaus  himself.  Although  Mentor  urges  Telemaehus  to 
accept  this  invitation,  he  declares  he  must  return  to  the 
ship,  and  vanishes  in  the  shape  of  a  bird,  thus  revealing  to 
all  present  his  divine  origin.  A  sumptuous  meal  in  the 
palace  ensues,  and  the  guest,  after  a  good  night,  partici- 
pates at  break  of  day  in  a  solemn  sacrifice. 

Book  IV.  Riding  in  a  chariot  skilfully  guided  by  one 
of  Nestor's  sons,  Telemaehus  next  speeds  on  to  Sparta, 
where  he  finds  Menelaus  celebrating  the  marriages  of  a 
daughter  and  son.  On  learning  that  strangers  have 
arrived,  Menelaus  orders  every  attention  shown  them,  and 
only  after  they  have  been  refreshed  by  food  and  drink, 
inquires  their  errand.  He  states  that  he  himself  reached 
home  only  after  wandering  seven  years,  and  adds  that  he 
often  yearns  to  know  what  has  become  of  Ulysses.  At  this 
name  Telemaehus'  tears  flow,  and  Helen,  who  has  just  ap- 
peared, is  struck  by  his  resemblance  to  his  father.  When 
Telemaehus  admits  his  identity,  Menelaus  and  Helen  mingle 
their  tears  with  his,  for  the  memory  of  the  past  over- 
whelms them  with  sorrow.  Then  to  restore  a  more  cheer- 
ful atmosphere,  Helen  casts  "nepenthe"  into  the  wine, 
thanks  to  which  beneficent  drug  all  soon  forget  their  wo^. 
She  next  relates  how  Ulysses  once  entered  Troy  in  the 
guise  of  a  beggar,  and  how  she  alone  recognized  him  in 
spite  of  his  disguise.  This  reminds  Menelaus  of  the  time 
when  Ulysses  restrained  him  and  the  other  Greeks  in  the 
wooden  horse,  and  when  Helen  marched  around  it  mimick- 
ing the  voices  of  their  wives! 

Soothed  by  "nepenthe,"  all  retire  to  rest,  and  when 
morning  dawns  Telemaehus  inquires  whether  Menelaus 
knows  aught  of  his  father.    All  the  information  Menelaus 


44  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

vouchsafes  is  that  when  he  surprised  Proteus,  counting 
sea-calves  on  the  island  of  Pharos,  he  was  told  he  would 
reach  home  only  after  making  due  sacrifices  in  Egypt  to 
appease  the  gods,  that  his  brother  had  been  murdered  on 
arriving  at  Mycenae,  and  that  Ulysses — ^sole  survivor  of 
his  crew — -was  detained  by  Calypso  in  an  island,  whence 
he  had  no  means  of  escape.  The  sea-god  had  further 
promised  that  Menelaus  should  never  die,  stating  that,  as 
husband  of  Helen  and  son-in-law  of  Jupiter,  he  would 
enjoy  everlasting  bliss  in  the  Elysian  Fields.  Then,  after 
describing  the  sacrifices  which  insured  his  return  to  Sparta, 
Menelaus  invites  Telemaehus  to  tarry  with  him,  although 
the  youth  insists  he  must  return  home. 

Meantime  the  suitors  in  Ulysses'  palajce  entertain  them- 
selves with  games,  in  the  midst  of  which  they  learn  that 
Telemaehus  has  gone.  Realizing  that  if  he  were  dead 
Penelope's  fortunate  suitor  would  become  possessor  of  all 
Ulysses'  wealth,  they  decide  to  man  a  vessel  to  guard  the 
port  and  slay  Telemaehus  on  his  return.  This  plot  is  over- 
heard by  a  servant,  who  hastens  to  report  it  to  Penelope. 
On  learning  her  son  has  ventured  out  to  sea,  she  wrings 
her  hands,  and  reviles  the  nurse  who  abetted  his  departure 
until  this  wise  woman  advises  her  rather  to  pray  for  her 
son's  safe  return!  While  Penelope  is  offering  propitiatory 
sacrifices,  the  suitors  despatch  a  vessel  in  Antinous'  charge 
to  lie  in  wait  for  the  youth.  But,  during  the  sleep  which 
overcomes  Penelope  after  ber  prayers,  she  is  favored  by  a 
vision,  in  which  her  sister  assures  her  Telemaehus  will  soon 
be  restored  to  her  arms,  although  she  refuses  to  give  her 
any  information  in  regard  to  Ulysses. 

Book  V.  Aurora  has  barely  announced  the  return  of 
day  to  gods  and  men,  when  Jupiter  assembles  his  council 
on  I^Iount  Olympus.  There  Minerva  rehearses  Ulysses' 
grievances,  demanding  that  he  be  at  last  allowed  to  return 
home  and  his  son  saved  from  the  suitors'  ambush.  In 
reply  Jupiter  sends  Mercury  to  bid  Calypso  provide  her 
unwilling  guest  with  the  means  to  leave  her  shores.  Don- 
ning his  golden  sandals,  the  messenger-god  flits  to  the 


THE  ODYSSEY  45 

Island  of  Ogygia,  enters  Calypso's  wonderful  cave,  and 
delivers  his  message.  Although  reluctant  to  let  Ulysses 
depart.  Calypso — ^not  daring  oppose  the  will  of  Jupiter- 
goes  in  quest  of  her  guest.  Finding  him  gazing  tearfuUy 
in  the  direction  of  home,  she  promises  to  supply  hlin  with 
the  means  to  build  a  raft  which,  thanks  to  the  gods,  will, 
enable  him  to  reach  Ithaca. 

After  a  copious  repast  and  a  night's  rest,  Ulysses  fells 
twenty  trees  and  constructs  a  raft,  in  which,  after  it  has 
been  provisioned  by  Calypso,  he  sets  sail.  For  seventeen 
days  the  stars  serve  as  his  guides,  and  he  is  nearing  the 
island  of  Phaeacia,  when  Neptune  becomes  aware  that  his 
hated  foe  is  about  to  escape.  One  stroke  of  the  i^ea-god's 
mighty  trident  then  stirs  up  a  tem{)est  Which  dashes  the 
raft  to  pieces,  and  Ulysses  is  in  imminent  danger  of  per- 
ishing, when  the  sea-nymph  Leucothea  gives  him  her  life- 
preserving  scarf,  bidding  him  cast  it  back  into  the  waves 
when  it  has  borne  him  safely  to  land !  Buoyed  up  by  this 
scarf,  Ulysses  finally  reaches  the  shore,  where,  after  obeying 
the  nymph's  injunctions,  he  buries  himself  in  dead  leaves 
and  sinks  into  an  exhausted  sleep. 

Close  to  the  cliff  with  both  his  hands  he  clung, 
And  stuck  adherent,  and  suspended  hung; 
Till  the  htige  surge  roll'd  off;  then  backward  sweep 
The  refluent  tides,  and  plunge  him  in  the  deep. 
And  when  the  polypus,  from  forth  his  cave 
Torn  with  full  force,  reluctant  beats  the  wave, 
His  ragged  claws  are  stuck  with  stones  and  sands; 
So  the  rough  rock  had  shagg'd  Ul3*ses'  hands. 
And  now  had  perish'd,  whelm'd  beneath  the  main, 
The  unhappy  man;  e'en  fate  had  beto  in  vain; 
But  all-subduing  Pallas  lent  her  power, 
And  prudence  saved  him  in  the  needful  hour. 

Booh  VI.  While  Ulysses  is  thus  sleeping,  Minerva,  in 
a  dream,  admonishes  Nausicaa,  daughter  of  the  Phfteaoian 
king,  to  wash  her  garments  in  readinefe  for  her  wedding. 
On  awakening,  the  princess,  after  bespfeaMag  a  chariot 
with  mules  to  draw  the  clothes  to  the  washing  place,  de- 
parts with  her  maids  for  the  shore. 

The  clothes  washed  and  hung  out  to  dry,  the  princess 


46  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

and  her  attendants  play  ball,  until  tbeir  loud  shrieks 
awaken  Ulysses.  Veiling  his  nakedness  behind  leafy 
branches,  he  timidly  approaches  the  maidens,  and  addresses 
them  from  afar.  Convinced  he  is,  as  he  represents,  a  ship- 
wrecked man  in  need  of  aid,  the  princess  provides  him 
with  garments,  and  directs  him  to  follow  her  diariot  to 
the  confines  of  the  city.  There  he  is  to  wait  until  she  has 
reached  home  before  presenting  himself  before  her  parents, 
as  she  does  not  wish  his  presence  with  her  to  cause  gossip 
in  town. 

Booh  VII.  Having  left  Ulysses  behind  her,  Nausicaa' 
returns  home,  where  her  chariot  is  unloaded;  but  shortly 
after  she  has  retired,  Ulysses,  guided  by  Minerva  in  dis- 
guise, enters  the  town  and  palace  unseen.  It  is  only 
when,  obeying  Nausicaa 's  instructions,  he  seeks  her 
mother's  presence  and  beseeches  her  aid,  that  he  becomes 
visible  to  all.  King  and  queen  gladly  promise  their  pro- 
tection to  the  suppliant,  who,  while  partaking  of  food, 
describes  himself  as  a  shipvirrecked  mariner  and  asks  to 
be  sent  home.  After  he  has  refreshed  himself,  the  queen, 
who  has  recognized  the  clothes  he  wears,  learning  how  he 
obtained  them,  delights  in  her  daughter's  charity  and 
prudence.  Then  she  and  her  husband  promise  the  wan- 
derer their  protection  before  retiring  to  rest. 

Book  VIII.  At  daybreak  the  king  conducts  his  guest 
to  the  public  square,  where  Minerva  has  summoned  all  the 
inhabitants.  To  this  assembly  Aleinous  makes  known  that 
a  nameless  stranger  bespeaks  their  aid,  and  proposes  that 
after  a  banquet,  where  blind  Demodocus  will  entertain 
them,  with  his  songs,  they  load  the  suppliant  with  gifts 
and  send  him  home. 

The  projected  festive  meal  is  well  under  way  when  the 
bard  begins  singing  of  a  quarrel  between  Ulysses  and 
Achilles,  strains  which  so  vividly  recall  happier  days  that 
Ulysses,  drawing  his  cloak  over  his  head,  gives  way  to 
tears.  Noting  this  emotion,  Aleinous  checks  the  bard  and 
proposes  games.  After  displaying  their  skill  in  racing, 
wrestling,  discus-throwing,  etc.,  the  contestants  mockingly 


THE  ODYSSEY  47 

challenge  Ulysses  to  give  an  exhibition  of  his  proficiency 
in  games  of  strength  and  skill.  Stung  by  their  covert 
taunts,  the  stranger  casts  the  discus  far  beyond  their  best 
mark,  and  avers  that  although  out  of  practice  he  is  not 
afraid  to  match  them  in  feats  of  strength,  admitting,  how- 
ever, that  he  cannot  compete  with  them  in  fleetness  of  foot 
or  in  the  dance.  His  prowess  in  one  line  and  frank  con- 
fession of  inferiority  in  another  disarm  further  criticism, 
and  the  young  men  dance  until  the  bard  begins  singing  of 
Vulcan's  stratagem  to  pixnish  a  faithless  spouse.* 

All  the  Phaeadans  now  present  gifts  to  the  stranger, 
who  finds  himself  rich  indeed,  but  who  assures  Nausicaa 
he  will  never  forget  she  was  the  first  to  lend  him  aid. 
Toward  the  close  of  the  festivities  the  blind  bard  sings  of 
the  wooden  horse  devised  by  Ulysses  and  abandoned  on 
the  shore  by  the  retreating  Greeli.  Then  he  describes  its 
triumphant  entry  into  Troy,  where  for  the  first  time  in 
ten  years  all  sleep  soundly  without  dread  of  a  surprise. 
But,  while  the  too  confident  Trojans  are  thus  resting  peace- 
fully upon  their  laurels,  the  Greeks,  emerging  from  this 
wooden  horse,  open  the  gates  to  their  comrades,  and  the 
sack  of  Troy  begins!  Because  the  stranger  guest  again 
shows  great  emotion,  Alcinous  begs  him  to  relate  his  ad- 
ventures and  asks  whether  he  has  lost  some  relative  in  the 
war  of  Troy? 

Touch'd  at  the  song,  Ulysses  straight  resign'd 
To  soft  atBiction  all  his  manly  mind: 
Before  his  eyes  the  purple  vest  he  drew. 
Industrious  to  conceal  the  falling  dew: 
But  when  the  music  paused,  he  ceased  to  shed 
The  flowing  tear,  and  raised  his  drooping  head: 
And,  lifting  to  the  gods  a  goblet  crown'd, 
He  pour'd  a  pure  libation  to  the  ground. 

Booh  IX.  Thus  invited  to  speak,  Ulysses,  after  in. 
troducing  himself  and  describing  his  island  home,  relates 
how,  the  ruin  of  Troy  completed,  he  and  his  men  left  the 
Trojan  shores.  Driven  by  winds  to  Ismarus,  they  sacked 
the  town,  but,  instead  of  sailing  off  immediately  with  their 

••See  chapter  on  Venus  in  the  author's  "Myths  of  Greece  and 
Eome." 


48  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

booty  as  Ulysses  urged,  tarried  there  until  surprised  by 
their  foes,  from  whom  they  were  glad  to  escape  with  their 
lives!  Tossed  by  a  tempest  for  many  days,  the  Greek 
ships  next  neared  the  land  of  the  Lotus-Eaters,  people  who 
feasted  upon  the  buds  and  blossoms  of  a  narcotic  lotus. 
Sending  three  men  ashore  to  reconnoitre,  Ulysses  vainly 
awaited  their  return;  finally,  mistriistiag  what  had  hap- 
pened, he  went  in  quest  of  them  himself,  only  to  find  that 
having  partaken  of  the  lotus  they  were  dead  to  the  calls  of 
home  and  ambition.  Seizing  these  men,  Ulysses  conveyed 
them  bound  to  his  ship,  and,  without  allowing  the  rest  to 
land,  sailed  hastily  away  from  those  pernicious  shores. 

Before  long  he  came  to  the  land  of  the  Cyclops,  and 
disembarked  on  a  small  neighboring  island  to  renew  his 
stock  of  food  and  water.  Then,  unwilling  to  depart  with- 
out having  at  least  visited  the  Cyclops,  he  took  twelve  of 
his  bravest  men,  a  skin-bottle  full  of  delicious  wine,  and 
set  out  to  find  Polyphemus,  chief  of  the  Cyclops.  On 
entering  the  huge  cave  where  this  giant  pursued  his 
avocation  of  dairyman,  Ulysses  and  his  companions  built 
a  fire,  around  which  they  sat  awaiting  their  host's  return. 
Before  long  a  huge  one-eyed  monster  drove  in  his  flocks, 
and,  after  closing  the  opening  of  his  cave  with  a  rock 
which  no  one  else  could  move,  proceeded  to  milk  his  ewes 
and  make  cheese. 

It  was  only  while  at  supper  that  he  noticed  Ulysses  and 
his  men,  who  humbly  approached  him  as  suppliants.  After 
shrewdly  questioning  them  to  ascertain  whether  they  were 
alone,  believing  Ulysses'  tale  that  they  were  shipwrecked 
men,  he  seized  and  devoured  two  of  them  before  he  lay 
down  to  rest.  Although  sorely  tempted  to  slay  him  while 
he  was  thus  at  their  mercy,  Ulysses  refrained,  knowing  he 
and  his  companions  would  never  be  able  to  move  the  rock. 

At  dawn  the  giant  again  milked  his  flock,  and  devoured 
— as  a  relish  for  his  breakfast — ^two  more  Greeks.  Then  he 
easily  rolled  aside  the  rock,  which  he  replaced  when  he  and 
his  flock  had  gone  out  for  the  day,  thus  imprisoning  Ulysses 
and  his  eight  surviving  men. 


THE  ODYSSEY  49 

During  that  long  day  Ulysses  sharpened  to  a  point  a 
young  pine,  and,  after  hardening  this  weapon  in  the  fire, 
secured  by  lot  the  helpers  he  needed  to  execute  his  plan. 
That  evening  Polyphemus,  having  finished  his  chorea  and 
cannibal  repast,  graciously  accepted  the  wine  which  Ulysses 
oflEered  him.  Pleased  with  its  taste,  he  even  promised  the 
giver  a  reward  if  he  would  only  state  his  name.  The  wily 
Ulysses  declaring  he  was  called  Noman,  the  giant  facetiously 
promised  to  eat  him  last,  before  he  fell  into  a  drunken 
sleep.  Then  Ulysses  and  his  four  men,  heating  the  pointed 
pine,  bored  out  the  eye  of  Polyphemus,  who  howled  with 
pain: 

"  Sudden  I  stir  the  embers,  and  inspire 

With  animating  breath  the  seeds  of  fire; 

Each  drooping  spirit  with  bold  words  repair. 

And  urge  my  train  the  dreadful  deed  to  dare. 

The  stake  now  glow'd  beneath  the  burning  bed 

(Green  as  it  was)  and  sparkled  fiery  red. 

Then  forth  the  vengeful  instrument  I  bring; 

With  beating  hearts  my  fellows  form  a  ring. 

Urged  by  some  present  god,  they  swift  let  fall 

The  pointed  torment  on  his  visual  ball. 

Myself  above  them  from  a  rising  ground 

Guide  the  sharp  stake,  and  twirl  it  round  and  round. 

As  when  a  shipwright  stands  his  workmen  o'er. 

Who  ply  the  wimble,  some  huge  beam  to  bore; 

Urged  on  all  hands  it  nimbly  spins  about, 

The  grain  deep-piercing  till  it  scoops  it  out; 

In  his  broad  eye  so  whirls  the  fiery  wood; 

From  the  pierced  pupil  spouts  the  boiling  blood; 

Singed  are  his  brows ;  the  scorching  lids  grow  black ; 

The  jelly  bubbles,  and  the  fibres  crack." 

His  fellow-Cyclops,  awakened  by  his  cries,  gathered 
without  his  cave,  asking  what  was  the  matter.  But,  hear- 
ing him  vehemently  howl  that  Noman  was  hurting  him, 
they  all  declared  he  was  evidently  being  punished  by  the 
gods  and  left  him  to  his  plight! 

When  morning  came,  the  groaning  Cyclops  rolled  aside 
the  rock,  standing  beside  it  with  arms  outstretched  to 
catch  his  prisoners  should  they  attempt  to  escape.  Seeing 
this,  Ulysses  tied  his  men  under  the  sheep,  and,  clinging 
to  the  fleece  of  the  biggest  ram,  had  himself  dragged,  out 
of  the  cave.    Passing  his  hand  over  the  badjs  of  the  sheep 

4 


50  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

to  make  sure  the  strangers  were  not  riding  on  them, 
Polyphemus  recognized  by  touch  his  favorite  ram,  and 
feelingly  ascribed  its  slow  pace  to  sympathy  with  his  woes. 

The  master  ram  at  last  approach'd  the  gate, 
Charged  with  his  wool  and  with  Ulysses'  fate. 
Him,  while  he  pass'd,  the  monster  blind  best)oke: 
"  What  makes  my  ram  the  lag  of  all  the  flock? 
First  thou  wert  wont  to  crop  the  flowery  mead, 
Krat  to  the  field  and  river's  bank  to  lead. 
And  first  with  stately  step  at  evening  hour 
Thy  fleecy  fellows  usher  to  their  bower. 
Now  far  the  last,  with  pensive  pace  and  slow 
Thou  movest,  as  conscious  of  thy  master's  woe! 
Seest  thou  these  lids  that  now  unfold  in  vain, 
(The  deed  of  Noman  and  his  wicked  train?) 
Oh  I  didst  thou  feel  for  thy  afflicted  lord. 
And  would  but  fate  the  power  of  speech  aflford; 
Soon  might'st  thou  tell  me  where  in  secret  here 
The  dastard  lurks,  all  trembling  with  his  fear: 
Swung  round  and  round  and  dash'd  from  rock  to  rock. 
His  batter'd  brains  should  on  the  pavement  smoke. 
No  ease,  no  pleasure  my  sad  heart  receives. 
While  such  a  monster  as  vile  Noman  lives." 

Once  out  of  the  cave,  Ulysses  cut  the  bonds  of  his 
men,  with  whose  aid  he  drove  part  of  Polyphemus'  flock 
on  board  of  his  ship,  which  he  had  hidden  in  a  cove.  He 
and  his  companions  were  scudding  safely  past  the  head- 
land where  blind  Polyphemus  idly  sat,  when  Ulysses  taunt- 
ingly raised  his  voice  to  make  known  his  escape  and  real 
name.  With  a  cry  of  rage,  the  giant  flung  huge  masses 
of  rock  in  the  direction  of  his  voice,  hotly  vowing  his 
father  Neptune  would  yet  avenge  his  wrongs! 

Book  X.  After  leaving  the  island  of  the  Cyclops, 
Ulysses  visited  Aeolus,  king  of  the  winds,  and  was  hos- 
pitably entertained  in  his  cave.  In  token  of  friend- 
ship and  to  enable  Ulysses  to  reach  home  quickly,  Aeolus 
bottled  up  all  the  contrary  winds,  letting  loose  only  those 
which  would  speed  him  on  his  way.  On  leaving  Aeolus, 
Ulysses  so  carefully  guarded  the  skin  bottle  containing  the 
adverse  gales  that  his  men  fancied  it  must  contain  jewels 
of  great  price.  For  nine  days  and  nights  Ulysses  guided 
the  rudder,  and  only  when  the  shores  of  Ithaca  came  in 


CIRCE  AND  ULYSSES^  COMPANIONS  TURNED  INTO  SWINE 

By  L.  Chalon 


THE  ODYSSEY  51 

sight  closed  his  eyes  in  sleep.  This  moment  was  seized 
by  his  crew  to  open  the  bottle,  whence  the  captive  winds 
escaped  with  a  roar,  stirring  up  a  hurricane  which  finally 
drove  them  back  to  Aeolus'  isle. 

"They  said:  and  (oh  cursed  fate! )  the  thongs  unbound! 
The  gushing  tempest  sweeps  the  ocean  round; 
Snatch'd  in  the  whirl,  the  hurried  navy  flew. 
The  ocean  widen'd  and  the  shores  withdrew. 
Eoused  from  my  fatal  sleep,  I  long  debate 
If  still  to  live,  or  desperate  plunge  to  fate; 
Thus  doubting,  prostrate  on  the  deck  I  lay. 
Till  all  the  coward  thoughts  of  death  gave  way." 

On  seeing  them  return  with  tattered  sails,  Aeolus 
averred  they  had  incurred  the  wrath  of  some  god  and 
therefore  drove  them  away  from  his  realm.  Toiling  at  the 
oar,  they  reached,  after  seven  days,  the  harbor  of  the 
Laestrigonians,  cannibal  giants,  from  whose  clutches  only 
a  few  ships  escaped.  Sorrowing  for  their  lost  friends,  the 
Greeks  next  landed  in  the  island  of  Circe,  where  Ulysses 
remained  with  half  his  men  by  the  ships,  while  the  rest 
set  out  to  renew  their  supplies.  This  party  soon  discov- 
ered the  abode  of  the  enchantress  Circe,  who,  aware  of 
their  approach,  had  prepared  a  banquet  and  a  magic  drug. 
Enticed  by  her  sweet  voice,  all  the  men  save  one  sat  down 
to  her  banquet,  and  ate  so  greedily  that  the  enchantress, 
contemptuously  waving  her  wand  over  them,  bade  them 
assume  the  forms  of  the  animals  they  most  resembled !  A 
moment  later  a  herd  of  grunting  pigs  surrounded  her, 
pigs  which,  however,  retained  a  distressing  consciousness 
of  their  former  human  estate. 

Milk  newly  press'd,  the  saci'ed  flour  of  wheat. 
And  honey  fresh,  and  Framnian  wines  the  treat: 
But  venom'd  was  the  bread,  and  mix'd  the  bowl. 
With  drugs  of  force  to  darken  all  the  soul: 
Soon  in  the  luscious  feast  themselves  they  lost. 
And  drank  oblivion  of  their  native  coast. 
Instant  her  circling  wand  the  goddess  waves, 
To  hogs  transforms  them,  and  the  sty  receives. 
No  more  was  seen  the  human  form  divine; 
Head,  face,  and  members,  bristle  into  swine: 
Still  cursed  with  sense,  their  minds  remain  alone. 
And  their  own  voice  affrights  them  when  they  groan. 


62  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

This  dire  transformation  was  viewed  with  horror  by 
the  man  lurking  outside,  who  fled  back  to  the  ships, 
imploring  Ulysses  to  depart.  Unwilling  to  desert  his  men, 
Ulysses  on  the  contrary  set  out  for  Circe's  dwelling,  meet- 
ing on  the  way  thither  Mercury  in  disguise,  who  gave 
him  an  herb  to  annul  the  effect  of  Circe's  drugs  and 
directed  liim  how  to  free  his  companions. 

Following  these  instructions,  Ulysses  entered  Circe's 
abode,  partook  of  the  refreshments  offered  him,  and,  when 
she  waved  her  wand  over  him,  threatened  to  kill  her  unless 
she  restored  his  men  to  their  wonted  forms !  The  terrified 
Circe  not  only  complied,  but  detained  Ulysses  and  his 
companions  with  her  a  full  year.  As  at  the  end  of  that 
time  the  men  pleaded  to  return  home,  Ulysses  told  his 
hostess  he  must  leave.  Then  she  informed  him  he  must 
first  visit  the  Cimmerian  shore  and  consult  the  shade  of  the 
blind  seer  Tiresias.  The  prospect  of  such  a  journey  greatly 
alarmed  Ulysses,  but  when  Circe  had  told  him  just  how  to 
proceed,  he  bravely  set  out. 

Wafted  by  favorable  winds,  Ulysses'  ship  soon  reached 
the  country  of  eternal  night.  On  landing  there  he  dug 
a  trench,  and  slew  the  black  victims  Circe  had  given 
him,  and  with  drawn  sword  awaited  the  approach  of  a 
host  of  shades,  among  whom  he  recognized  a  man  killed 
by  accident  on  Circe's  island,  who  begged  for  proper 
funeral  rites.  By  Circe's  order,  Ulysses,  after  allowing 
the  ghost  of  Tiresias  to  partake  of  the  victim's  blood, 
learned  from  him  that,  although  pursued  by  Neptune's 
vengeance,  he  and  his  men  would  reach  home  safely,  pro- 
vided they  respected  the  cattle  of  the  Sun  on  the  island 
of  Trinacria.  The  seer  added  that  all  who  attacked  them 
would  perish,  and  that,  even  if  he  should  escape  death  and 
return  home,  he  would  have  to  slay  his  wife's  insolent 
suitors  before  he  oould  rest  in  peace. 

After  this  had  been  accomplished,  Ulysses  was  to 
resume  his  wanderings  until  he  came  to  a  land  where  the 
oar  he  carried  would  be  mistaken  for  a  winnowing  fan. 
There  he  was  to  offer  a  propitiatory  sacrifice  to  Neptune, 


THE  ODYSSEY  53 

after  which  he  would  live  to  serene  old  age  and  die 
peacefully  among  his  own  people*  His  conversation  with 
Tiresias  finished,  Ulysses  interviewed  his  mother — of 
whose  demise  he  had  not  been  aware — and  conversed  with 
the  shades  of  sundry  women  noted  for  having  borne  sonsi 
to  gods  or  to  famous  heroes. 

Book  XI.  This  account  had  been  heard  with  breathless 
interest  by  the  Phaeacians,  whose  king  now  implored! 
Ulysses  to  go  on.  The  hero  then  described  his  interview 
with  the  ghost  of  Agamemnon, — slain  by  his  wife  and  her 
paramour  on  his  return  from  Troy, — ^who  predicted  his 
safe  return  home,  and  begged  for  tidings  of  his-  son 
Orestes,  of  whom  Ulysses  knew  nought.  Ulysses  next  be- 
held Achilles,  who,  although  ruler  of  the  dead,  bitterly 
.  declared  he  would  rather  be  the  meanest  laborer  on  earth 
than  monarch  among  shades! 

"Talk  not  of  ruling  in  this  dolorous  gloom, 
Nor  think  vain  words  (he  cried)  can  ease  my  doom< 
Eather  I'd  choose  laboriously  to  bear 
A  weight  of  woes  and  breathe  the  vital  air, 
A  slave  to  some  poor  hind  that  toils  for  bread, 
Than  reign  the  sceptered  monarch  of  the  dead." 

To  comfort  him,  Ulysses  described  how  bravely  his 
son  had  fought  at  the  taking  of  Troy,  where  he  had  been 
one  of  the  men  in  the  wooden  horse.  The  only  shade  which 
refused  to  approach  Ulysses  was  that  of  Ajax,  who  still 
resented  his  having  won  the  armor  of  AchiUes.  Besides 
these  shades,  Ulysses  beheld  the  judges  of  Hades  and  the 
famous  culprits  of  Tartarus.  But,  terrified  by  the  "in- 
numerable nation  of  the  dead"  crowding  around  him, 
he  finally  fled  in  haste  to  his  vessel,  and'  was  goon  wafted 
back  to  Circe's  shore. 

Book  XII.  There  Ulysses  buried  his  dead  companion 
and,  after  describing  his  visit  to  Hades,  begged  his  hostess' 
permission  to  depart.  Circe  consented,  warning  him  to 
beware  of  the  Sirens,  of  the  threatening  rocksj  of  the 
monster  Scylla  and  the  whirlpool  Charybdis'  oo  either 
side  of  the  Messenian  Strait,  and  of  the  cattle  of  Trinacria, 


54  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

giving  him  minute  directions  how  to  escape  unharmed 
from  all  these  perils. 

Morning  having  come,  Ulysses  took  leave  of  Circe,  and, 
on  nearing  the  reef  of  the.  Sirens,  directed  his  men  to 
bind  him  fast  to  the  mast,  paying  no  heed  to  his  gestures, 
after  he  had  stopped  their  ears  with  soft  wax.  In  this 
way  he  heard,  without  perishing,  the  Sirens'  wonderful 
song,  and  it  was  only  when  it  had  died  away  in  the  dis- 
tance and  the  spell  ceased  that  his  men  unbound  him  from 
the  mast. 

"Thus  the  sweet  charmers  warbled  o'er  the  main; 
My  soul  takes  wing  to  meet  the  heavenly  strain; 
I  give  the  sign,  and  struggle  to  be  free: 
Swift  row  my  mates,  and  shoot  along  the  sea; 
New  chains  they  add,  and  rapid  urge  the  way, 
Till,  dying  off,  the  distant  sounds  decay: 
Then  scudding  swiftly  from  the  dangerous  ground. 
The  deafen'd  ears  unlock'd,  the  chains  unbound." 

Not  daring  describe  to  his  companions  the  threatened 
horrors  of  Charybdis  and  Scylla,  Ulysses  bade  his  steers- 
man avoid  the  whirlpool,  and,  fully  armed,  prepared  to 
brave  the  monster  Scylla.  But,  notwithstanding  his 
preparations,  she  snatched  from  his  galley  six  men  who  were 
seen  no  more!  Although  reluctant  to  land  on  Trinaeria 
for  fear  his  sailors  would  steal  the  cattle  of  the  Sun, 
Ulysses  was  constrained  to  do  so  to  allow  them  to  rest. 
While  they  were  there,  unfavorable  winds  began  to  blow, 
and  continued  so  long  that  the  Greeks  consumed  all  their 
provisions,  and,  in  spite  of  their  efforts  to  supply  their 
larder  by  hunting  and  fishing,  began  to  suffer  from  hunger. 
D'uring  one  of  Ulysses'  brief  absences  the  men,  breaking 
their  promises,  slew  some  of  the  beeves  of  the  Sun,  which 
although  slain  moved  and  lowed  as  if  still  alive!  Un- 
deterred by  such  miracles,  the  men  feasted,  but,  on  em- 
barking six  days  later,  they  were  overtaken  by  a  tempest 
in  which  all  perished  save  Ulysses.  Clinging  to  the  mast 
of  his  wrecked  ship,  he  drifted  between  Charybdis  and 
Scylla,  escaping  from  the  whirlpool  only  by  clinging  to 
the  branches  of  an  overhangiag  fig-tree.     Then,  tossed  by 


THE  ODYSSEY  55 

the  waves  for  nine  days  longer,  Ulysses  was  finally  cast 
on  tile  isle  of  Ogygia,  whence  he  had  come  directly  to 
Phaeacia  as  already  described. 

Book  XIII.  Having  finished  this  account  of  his  ten 
years'  wanderings,  Ulysses,  after  banqueting  with  Alcin- 
ous,  was  conveyed  with  his  gifts  to  the  ship  which  was  to 
take  him  home.  Then,  while  he  slept  in  the  prow,  the 
skilful  Phaeacian  rowers  entered  a  sheltered  Ithacan  bay, 
where  they  set  sleeper  and  gifts  ashore  and  departed  with- 
out awaiting  thanks.  They  were  about  to  reenter  their 
own  port  when  Neptune,  discovering  they  had  taken  his 
enemy  home,  struck  their  vessel  with  his  trident,  thus 
transforming  it  into  the  galley-shaped  rock  stiU  seen  there 
to-day. 

Meantime  Ulysses,  awakening,  hid  his  treasures  away 
in  a  cave.  Then,  accosted  by  Minerva  in  disguise,  he  gave 
a  fantastic  account  of  himself,  to  which  she  lent  an  amused 
ear,  before  assuring  him  of  her  identity  and  of  his  wife's 
fidelity.  She  then  reported  the  insolence  of  the  suitors 
lying  in  wait  to  murder  Telemachus  at  his  return,  and 
suggested  that  Ulysses,  in  the  guise  of  an  aged  beggar, 
should  visit  his  faithful  swineherd  until  time  to  make  his 
presence  known. 

Book  XIV.  Transformed  by  Minerva  into  a  sordid 
mendicant,  Ulysses  next  visits  the  swineherd,  who  sets 
before  him  the  best  he  has,  complaining  that  the  greedy 
suitors  deplete  his  herds.  This  old  servant  is  comforted 
when  the  beggar  assures  him  his  master  will  soon  return 
and  reports  having  seen  him  lately.  Ulysses'  fictitious 
account  of  himself  serves  as  entertainment  until  the  hour 
for  rest,  when  the  charitable  swineherd  covers  his  guest 
with  his  best  cloak. 

Book  XV.  Meantime  Minerva,  hastening  to  Sparta, 
awakens  in  the  heart  of  the  sleeping  Telemachus  a  keen 
desire  to  return  home,  warns  him  of  the  suitors'  ambush, 
instructs  him  how  to  avoid  it,  and  cautions  him  on  his 
return  to  trust  none  save  the  women  on  whose  fidelity  he 
can  depend.    At  dawn,  therefore,  Telemachus,  after  offer- 


56  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

ing  a  saxjrifice  and  receiving  Menelans'  and  Helen's  parting 
gifts,  sets  out,  cheered  by  favorable  omens.  Without  paus- 
ing to  visit  Nestor, — ^whose  son  is  to  convey  his  thanks, — 
Telemachus  embarks,  and,  following  Minerva's  instructions, 
lands  near  the  swineherd's  hut. 

Book  XVI.  The  swineherd  is  preparing  breakfast,  when 
Ulysses  warns  him  a  friend  is  coming,  for  his  dogs  fawn 
upon  the  stranger  and  do  not  bark.  A  moment  later 
Telemachus  enters  the  hut,  and  is  warmly  welcomed  by  his 
servant,  who  wishes  him  to  occupy  the  place  of  honor  at  his 
table.  But  Telemachus  modestly  declines  it  in  favor  of  the 
aged  stranger,  to  whom  he  promises  clothes  and  protection 
as  soon  as  he  is  master  in  his  own  house.  Then  he  bids  the 
swineherd  notify  his  mother  of  his  safe  arrival,  directing 
her  to  send  word  to  Laertes  of  his  return.  This  man  has 
no  sooner  gone  than  Minerva  restores  Ulysses  to  more  than 
his  wonted  vigor  and  good  looks,  bidding  him  make  him- 
self known  to  his  son  and  concert  with  him  how  to  dispose 
of  the  suitors.  Amazed  to  see  the  beggar  transformed  into 
an  imposing  warrior,  Telemachus  is  overjoyed  to  learn  who 
he  really  is.  The  first  transports  of  joy  over,  Ulysses 
advises  his  son  to  return  home,  lull  the  suitors'  suspicions 
by  specious  words,  and,  after  removing  all  weapons  from 
the  banquet  hall,  await  the  arrival  of  his  father  who  will 
appear  in  mendicant's  guise. 

While  father  and  son  are  thus  laying  their  plans,  Tele- 
machus' vessel  reaches  port,  where  the  suitors  mourn  the 
escape  of  their  victim.  They  dare  not,  however,  attack 
Telemachus  openly,  for  fear  of  forfeiting  Penelope's  re- 
gard, and  assure  her  they  intend  to  befriend  him.  Mean- 
time, having  delivered  his  message  to  his  mistress,  the 
swineherd  returns  to  his  hut,  where  he  spends  the  evening 
with  Telemachus  and  the  beggar,  little  suspecting  the  latter 
is  his  master. 

Booh  XVII.  At  daybreak  Telemachus  hastens  back  to 
the  palace,  whither  the  swineherd  is  to  guide  the  stranger 
later  in  the  day,  and  is  rapturously  embraced  by  his  mother. 
After  a  brief  interview,  Telemachus  sends  her  back  to  her 


THE  ODYSSEY  67 

apartment  to  efface  the  trace  of  her  tears,  adding  that  he 
is  on  his  way  to  the  market-place  to  meet  a  travelling  com- 
panion whom  he  wishes  to  entertain.  After  welcoming  this 
man  with  due  hospitality,  Telemachus  gives  his  mother  an 
account  of  his  trip.  While  he  is  thus  occupied,  Ulysses  is 
wending  his  way  to  the  palace,  where  he  arrives  just  as 
the  suitors'  wonted  revels  reach  their  height.  But  as  he 
enters  the  court-yard,  his  favorite  hunting  dog  expires  for 
joy  on  recognizing  him. 

He  knew  his  lord; — he  knew,  and  strove  to  meet; 
In  vain  he  strove  to  crawl  and  kiss  his  feet; 
Yet  (all  he  could)  his  tail,  his  ears,  his  eyes, 
Salute  his  master  and  confess  his  joys. 
Soft  pity  touch'd  the  mighty  master's  soul: 
Adown  his  cheek  a  tear  unbidden  stole; 
iStole  unperceived:  he  turn'd  his  head,  and  dried 
The  drop  humane. 

Humbly  making  the  rounds  of  the  tables  like  the  beggar 
he  seems,  Ulysses  is  treated  kindly  by  Telemachus,  but 
grossly  insulted  by  the  suitors,  one  of  whom,  Antinous, 
actually  flings  a  stool  at  him.  Such  a  violation  of  the 
rights  of  hospitality  causes  some  commotion  in  the  palace, 
and  so  rouses  the  indignation  of  Penelope  that  she  ex- 
presses a  wish  to  converse  with  the  beggar,  who  may  have 
heard  of  her  absent  spouse. 

Book  XVIII.  Meantime  Ulysses  has  also  come  into  con- 
flict with  the  town-beggar  (Irus),  a  lusty  youth,  who  chal- 
lenges him  to  fight.  To  his  dismay,  Ulysses  displays  such 
a  set  of  muscles  on  laying  aside  his  robe  that  the  insolent 
challenger  wishes  to  withdraw.  He  is,  however,  compelled 
by  the  suitors  to  fight,  and  is  thoroughly  beaten  by  Ulysses, 
whose  strength  arouses  the  suitors'  admiration.  Then,  in 
reply  to  their  questions,  Ulysses  favors  them  with  another 
of  those  tales  which  do  far  more  honor  to  his  imagination 
than  to  his  veracity. 

Meantime  Penelope  indulges  in  a  nap,  during  which 
Minerva  restores  all  her  youthful  charms.  Then  she 
descends  into  the  hall,  to  chide  Telemachus  for  allowing 
a  stranger  to  be  insulted  beneath  his  father's  roof.     She 


68  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

next  remarks  that  she  foresees  she  will  soon  have  to  choose 
a  husband  among  the  suitors  present,  as  it  is  only  too  evi- 
dent Ulysses  is  dead,  and,  under  pretext  of  testing  their 
generosity,  induces  them  all  to  bestow  upon  her  gifts,  which 
she  thriftily  adds  to  her  stores.  Beside  themselves  with  joy 
at  the  prospect  that  their  long  wooing  will  soon  be  over, 
the  suitors  sing  and  dance,  until  Telemachus  advises  them 
to  return  home. 

Booh  XIX.  The  suitors  having  gone,  Ulysses  helps 
Telemachus  remove  all  the  weapons,  while  the  faithful 
nurse  mounts  guard  over  the  palace  women.  Secretly 
helped  by  Minerva,  father  and  son  accomplish  their  task, 
and  are  sitting  before  the  fire  when  Penelope  comes  to  ask 
the  beggar  to  relate  when  and  how  he  met  Ulysses.  This 
time  the  stranger  gives  so  accurate  a  description  of  Ulysses, 
that  Penelope,  wishing  to  show  him  some  kindness,  sum- 
mons the  old  nurse  to  bathe  his  feet.  Because  she  herself 
dozes  while  this  homely  task  is  being  performed,  she  is  not 
aware  that  the  old  nurse  recognizes  her  master  by  a  scar 
on  his  leg,  and  is  cautioned  by  him  not  to  make  his  presence 
known. 

Deep  o'er  his  knee  inseam'd,  remain'd  the  scar: 

Which  noted  token  of  the  woodland  war 

When  Euryclea  found,  the  ablution  ceased; 

Down  dropp'd  the  leg,  from  her  slack  hand  released: 

The  mingled  fluids  from  the  base  redound; 

The  vase  reclining  floats  the  floor  around! 

Smiles  dew'd  with  tears  the  pleasing  strife  express'd 

Of  grief,  and  joy,  alternate  in  her  breast. 

Her  fluttering  words  in  melting  murmurs  died; 

At  length  abrupt — "My  son! — ^my  king!  "  she  cried. 

Her  nap  ended,  Penelope  resumes  her  conversation  with 
the  beggar,  telling  him  she  has  been  favored  by  a  dream 
portending  the  death  of  the  suitors.  Still,  she  realizes  there 
are  two  kinds  of  dreams, — those  that  come  true  issuing 
from  Somnus'  palace  by  the  gate  of  horn,  while  deceptive 
dreams  pass  through  an  ivory  gate.  After  providing  for 
the  beggar's  comfort,  Penelope  retires,  and  as  usual  spends 
most  of  the  night  mourning  for  her  absent  partner. 


THE  ODYSSEY  59 

Book  XX.  Sleeping  beneath  Uie  portico  on  the  skins 
of  the  animals  slain  to  feast  the  horde  of  suitors,  Ulysses 
sees  the  maids  slip  out  of  the  palace  to  join  the  suitors,  who 
have  wooed  them  surreptitiously.  Then  he  falls  asleep  and 
is  visited  by  Minerva,  who  infuses  new  strength  and  cour- 
age in  his  veins.  At  dawn  Ulysses  is  awakened  by  Tele- 
machus,  and  soon  after  the  house  is  once  more  invaded 
by  the  suitors,  who  with  their  own  hands  slay  the  animals 
provided  for  their  food.  Once  more  they  display  their 
malevolence  by  ill  treating  the  beggar,  and  taunt  Tele- 
maehus,  who  apparently  pays  no  heed  to  their  words. 

Booh  XXI.  Meantime  Minerva  has  prompted  Penelope 
to  propose  to  the  suitora  to  string  Ulysses'  bow  and  shoot 
an  arrow  through  twelve  rings.  Armed  with  this  weapon, 
and  followed  by  handmaids  bearing  bow,  string,  and  arrows, 
Penelope  appears  in  the  banquet-hall,  where  the  suitors 
eagerly  accept  her  challenge.  But,  after  Antinous  has 
vainly  striven  to  bend  the  bow,  the  others  warily  try  sundry 
devices  to  ensure  its  pliancy. 

Meantime,  noticing  that  the  swineherd  and  one  of  his 
companions — ^upon  whose  fidelity  he  counts — ^have  left  the 
hall,  Ulysses  follows  them,  makes  himself  known  by  means 
of  his  scar,  and  directs  them  what  to  do.  Then,  returning 
into  the  hall,  he  silently  watches  the  suitors'  efforts  to 
bend  the  bow,  and,  when  the  last  has  tried  and  failed, 
volunteers  to  make  the  attempt,  thereby  rousing  ger-eral 
ridicule.  All  gibes  are  silenced,  however,  when  the  beggar 
not  only  spans  the  bow,  but  sends  his  first  arrow  through 
the  twelve  rings.  At  the  same  time  the  faithful  servants 
secure  the  doors  of  the  apartment,  and  Telemachus,  dart- 
ing to  his  father's  side,  announces  he  is  ready  to  take  part 
in  the  fray. 

BooTi  XXII. 

Then  fierce  the  hero  o'er  the  threshold  strode; 
Stript  of  his  rags,  he  blazed  out  like  a  god. 
Full  in  their  face  the  lifted  bow  he  bore, 
And  quiver'd  deaths,  a,  formidable  store; 
Before  his  feet  the,  rattling  shower  he  threw. 
And  thus,  terrific,  to  the  suitor-crew: 


60  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

."  Une  venturous  game  this  hand  hath  won  to-day; 
Another,  princes!   yet  remains  to  play: 
Another  mark  our  arrow  must  attain. 
Phoebus,  assist!  nor  be  the  labor  vain.'' 
Swift  as  the  word  the  parting  arrow  sings; 
And  bears  thy  fate,  Antinous,  on  its  wings. 
Wretch  that  he  was,  of  unprophetic  soul! 
High  in.  his  hands  he  rear'd  the  golden  bowl : 
E'en  then  to  drain  it  lengthen'd  out  his  breath; 
Changed  to  the  deep,  the  bitter  draught  of  death! 
For  fate  who  f ear'd  amidst  a  feastful  band  ? 
And  fate  to  numbers,  by  a  single  hand? 
Full  through  his  throat  Ulysses'  weapon  pass'd,  _ 
And  pierced  his  neck.    He  falls,  and  breathes  his  last. 

Grimly  announcing  his  second  arrow  will  reach  a  differ- 
ent goal  by  Apollo's  aid,  Ulysses  shoots  the  insolent  Antin- 
ous through  the  heart  and  then  begins  to  taunt  and  threaten 
the  other  suitors.  Gazing  wildly  around  them  for  weapons 
or  means  of  escape,  these  men  discover  how  cleverly  they 
have  been  trapped.  One  after  another  now  falls  beneath 
the  arrows  of  Ulysses,  who  bids  his  son  hasten  to  the  store- 
room and  procure  arms  for  them  both  as  there  are  not 
arrows  enough  to  dispose  of  his  foes.  Through  Telemachus' 
heedlessness  in  leaving  the  doors  open,  the  suitors  contrive 
to  secure  weapons  too,  and  the  fight  in  the  hall  rages  until 
they  all  have  been  slain.  Then  the  doors  are  thrown  open, 
and  the  faithless  maids  are  compelled  to  remove  the  corpses 
and  purify  the  room,  before  they  are  hanged! 

Book  XXIII.  The  old  nurse  has  meantime  had  the 
privilege  of  announcing  Ulysses'  safe  return  to  his  faith- 
ful retainers,  and  last  of  all  to  the  sleeping  Penelope. 
Unable  to  credit  such  tidings, — although  the  nurse  assures 
her  she  has  seen  his  sear, — Penelope  imagines  the  suitors 
must  have  been  slain  by  some  god  who  has  come  to  her 
rescue.  She  decides,  therefore,  to  go  down  and  congratu- 
late her  son  upon  being  rid  of  those  who  preyed  upon  his 
wealth.  Seeing  she  does  not  immediately  fall  upon  his 
father's  neck,  Telemachus  hotly  reproaches  her,  but  she 
rejoins  she  must  have  some  proof  of  the  stranger's  identity 
and  is  evidently  repelled  by  his  unprepossessing  appear- 
ance.   Hearing  this,  Ulysses  suggests  that  all  present  purify 


THE  ODYSSEY  61 

themselves,  don  fresh  garments,  and  partake  of  a  feast, 
enlivened  by  the  songs  of  their  bard.  While  he  is  attended 
by  the  old  nurse,  Minerva  sheds  upon  him  such  grace  that, 
when  he  reappears,  looking  like  a  god,  he  dares  reproach 
Penelope  for  not  recognizing  him.  Then,  hearing  her  order 
that  his  bed  be  removed  to  the  portico,  he  hotly  demands 
who  cut  down  the  tree  which  formed  one  of  its  posts? 
Because  this  fact  is  known  only  to  Penelope  and  to  the 
builder  of  the  bed,  she  now  falls  upon  Ulysses'  neck,  begging 
his  pardon.  Their  joy  at  being  united  is  marred  only  by 
Ulysses'  determination  soon  to  resume  his  travels,  and  pur- 
sue them  until  Tiresias'  prediction  has  been  fulfilled.  That 
night  is  spent  in  mutual  confidences  in  regard  to  all  that 
has  occurred  during  their  twenty  years'  separation,  and 
when  morning  dawns  Ulysses  and  his  son  go  to  visit  Laertes. 
Book  XXIV.  Mindful  of  his  office  as  conductor  of 
souls  to  Hades,  Mercury  has  meanwhile  entered  the  palace 
of  Ulysses,  and,  waving  his  wand,  has  summoned  the  spirits 
of  the  suitors,  who,  uttering  plaintive  cries,  follow  him 
down  to  the  infernal  regions. 

Cyllenius  now  to  Pluto's  dreary  reign 

Conveys  the  dead,  a  lamentable  train! 

The  golden  wand,  that  causes  sleep  to  fly, 

Or  in  soft  slumber  seals  the  wakeful  eye. 

That  drives  the  ghosts  to  realms  of  night  or  day. 

Points  out  the  long  uncomfortable  way. 

Trembling  the  spectres  glide,  and  plaintive  vent 

Thin  hollow  screams,  along  the  deep  descent. 

As  in  the  cavern  of  some  rifty  den, 

Where  flock  nocturnal  bats  and  birds  obscene, 

Cluster'd  they  hang,  till  at  some  sudden  shock, 

They  move,  and  murmurs  run  through  all  the  rock: 

So  cowering  fled  the  sable  heaps  of  ghosts; 

And  such  a  scream  fiU'd  all  the  dismal  coasts. 

There  they  overhear  Ajax  giving  Achilles  a  minute 
account  of  his  funeral, — ^the  grandest  ever  seen, — and  when 
questioned  describe  Penelope's  stratagem  in  regard  to  the 
web  and  to  Ulysses'  bow. 

Meanwhile  Ulysses  has  arrived  at  his  father's  farm, 
where  the  old  man  is  busy  among  his  trees.    To  prepare 


62  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Laertes  for  his  return,  Ulysses  relates  one  of  his  fairy 
tales  ere  he  makes  himself  known.  Like  Penelope,  Laertes 
proves  iacredulous,  until  Ulysses  points  out  the  trees  given 
him  when  a  child  and  exhibits  his  scar. 

Smit  with  the  signs  which  all  his  doubts  explain. 
His  heart  within  him  melts;  his  knees  sustain 
Their  feeble  weight  no  more;  his  arms  alone 
Support  him,  round  the  loved  Ulysses  thrown: 
He  faints,  he  sinks,  with  mighty  joys  oppreas'd: 
Ulysses  clasps  him  to  his  eager  breast. 

To  celebrate  their  reunion,  a  banquet  is  held,  which  per- 
mits the  Ithacans  to  show  their  joy  at  their  master's  return. 
Meanwhile  the  friends  of  the  suitors,  having  heard  of  the 
massacre,  determine  to  avenge  them  by  slaying  father  and 
son.  But,  aided  by  Minerva  and  Jupiter,  these  two  heroes 
present  so  formidable  an  appearance,  that  the  attacking 
party  concludes  a  treaty,  which  restores  peace  to  Ithaca 
and  ends  the  Odyssey. 


LATIN  EPICS 

Latin  literature  took  its  source  in  the  Greek,  to  which 
it  owes  much  of  its  poetio  beauty,  for  many  of  its  master- 
pieces are  either  translations  or  imitations  of  the  best  Greek 
writings.  There  have  been,  for  instance,  numerous  trans- 
lations of  the  Iliad  and  Odyssey,  the  first  famous  one  being 
by  the  "father  of  Roman  dramatic  and  epic  poetry,"  Livius 
Andronicus,  who  lived  in  the  third  century  B.C.  He  also 
attempted  to  narrate  Roman  history  in  the  same  strain,  by 
composing  an  epic  of  some  thirty-five  books,  which  are  lost. 

Another  poet,  Naevius,  a  century  later  composed  the 
Cyprian  Iliad,  as  well  as  a  heroic  poem  on  the  first  Punic 
war  (Bellum  Punicum),  of  which  only  fragments  have 
come  down  to  us.  Then,  in  the  second  century  before  our 
ora,  Bnnius  made  a  patriotic  attempt  to  sing  the  origin  of 
Rome  in  the  Annales  in  eighteen  books,  of  which  only  parts 
remain,  while  Hostius  wrote  an  epic  entitled  Istria,  which 
has  also  perished.  Lucretius'  epic  "On  the  Nature  of 
Things"  is  considered  an  example  of  the  astronomical  or 
physical  epic. 

The  Augustan  age  proved  rich  in  epic  poets,  such  as 
Publius  Terentius  Varro,  translator  of  the  Argonautica 
and  author  of  a  poem  on  Julius  Caesar;  Lucius  Varius 
Rufus,  whose  poems  are  lost;  and,  greatest  of  all,  Virgil, 
of  whose  latest  and  greatest  work,  the  Aeneid,  a  complete 
synopsis  follows.  Next  to  this  greatest  Latin  poem  ranks 
Lucan's  Pharsalia,  wherein  he  relates  in  ten  books  the 
rivalry  between  Caesar  and  Pompey,  while  his  contemporary 
Statius,  in  his  Thebais  and  unfinished  Achilleis,  works  over 
the  time-honored  cycles  of  Thebes  and  Troy.  During  the 
same  period  Silius  Italicus  supplied  a  lengthy  poem  on  the 
second  Punic  war,  and  Valerius  Flaccus  a  new  translation 
or  adaptation  of  the  Argonautica. 

In  the  second  century  of  our  own  era  Quintius  Curtius 
epmposed  an  epic  on  Alexander,  and  in  the  third  century 

63 


64  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Juvencus  penned  the  first  Christian  epic,  using  the  Life 
of  Christ  as  his  theme.  In  the  fifth  century  Claudianus 
harked  back  to  the  old  Greek  myths  of  the  battle  of  the 
Giants  and  of  the  Abduction  of  Persephone,  although  by 
that  time  Christianity  was  well  established  in  Italy.  From 
that  epoch  Roman  literature  practically  ceased  to  exist, 
for  although  various  attempts  at  Latin  epics  were  made 
by  mediaeval  poets,  none  of  them  proved  of  suflScient  merit 
to  claim  attention  here. 

THE  AENEID 

Book  I.  After  stating  he  is  about  to  sing  the  deeds  of 
the  heroic  ancestor  of  the  Romans,  Virgil  describes  how, 
seven  years  after  escaping  from  burning  Troy,  Aeneas' 
fleet  was  overtaken  by  a  terrible  storm  off  the  coast  of 
Africa.  This  tempest,  raised  by  the  turbulent  children  of 
Aeolus  at  Juno's  request,  threatened  before  long  to  destroy 
the  Trojan  fleet.  But,  disturbed  by  the  commotion  over- 
head and  by  Aeneas'  frantic  prayers  for  help,  Neptune 
suddenly  arose  from  the  bottom  of  the  sea,  angrily  ordered 
the  winds  back  to  their  cave,  and  summoned  sea-nymphs 
and  tritons  to  the  Trojans'  aid.  Soon,  therefore,  seven  of 
the  vessels  came  to  anchor  in  a  sheltered  bay,  where  Aeneas 
landed  with  his  friend  Achates.  While  reconnoitring,  they 
managed  to  kill  seven  stags  with  which  to  satisfy  the 
hunger  of  the  men,  whom  Aeneas  further  cheered  by  the 
assurance  that  they  were  the  destined  ancestors  of  a  mighty 
people. 

Meantime  Venus,  beholding  the  plight  of  her  son 
Aeneas,  had  hastened!  off  to  Olympus  to  remind  Jupiter  of 
his  promise  to  protect  the  remnant  of  the  Trojan  race. 
Bestowing  a  kiss,  the  King  of  the  Gods  assured  her  that 
after  sundry  vicissitudes  Aeneas  would  reach  Italy,  where 
in  due  time  his  son  would  found  Alba  Longa.  Jupiter 
added  a  brief  sketch  of  what  would  befall  this  hero's  race, 
until,  some  three  hundred  years  after  his  death,  one  of  his 
descendants,   the  Vestal  Ilia,   would  bear  twin   sons   to 


THE  AENEID  65 

Mars,  god  of  War.  One  of  these,  Romulus,  would  found 
the  city  of  Rome,  where  the  Trojan  race  would  continue 
its  heroic  career  and  where  Caesar  would  appear  to  fill  the 
world  with  his  fame. 

"From  Troy's  fair  stock  shall  Caesar  rise, 
The  limits  of  whose  victories 
Are  ocean,  of  his  fame  the  skies.'" 

Having  thus  quieted  Venus'  apprehensions  in  regard  to 
her  son,  Jupiter  dirtected  Mercury  to  hasten  off  to  Carthage 
so  as  to  warn  Dido  she  is  to  receive  hospitably  the  Trojan 
guests. 

After  a  sleepless  night  Aeneas  again  set  out  with 
Achates  to  explore,  and  encountered  in  the  forest  his 
goddess  mother  in  the  guise  of  a  Tyrian  huntress.  In 
respectful  terms — for  he  suspected  she  was  some  divinity 
in  disguise — ^Aeneas  begged  for  information  and  learned 
he  has  landed  in  the  realm  of  Dido.  Warned  in  a  vision 
that  her  brother  had  secretly  slain  her  husband  and  was 
plotting  against  her  life,  this  Tyrian  queeti  had  fled  from 
Tyre  with  friends  and  wealth,  and,  on  reaching  this  part 
of  Africa,  had,  thanks  to  the  clever  device  of  a  bull's  hide, 
obtained  land  enough  to  found  the  city  of  Byrsa  or  Caii;h- 
age.  In  return  Aeneas  gave  the  strange  huntress  his  name, 
relating  how  the  storm  had  scattered  all  his  vessels  save 
the  seven  anchored  close  by.  To  allay  his  anxiety  in  regard 
to  his  friends,  Venus  assured  him  that  twelve  swans  flying 
overhead  were  omens  of  the  safety  of  his  ships,  and  it  was 
only  when  she  turned  to  leave  him  that  Aeneas  recognized 
his  mother,  who,  notwithstanding  his  desire  to  embrace  her, 
promptly  disappeared. 

The  two  Trojans  now  walked  on  in  the  direction  she 
indicated  until  dazzled  by  the  beauty  of  the  new  city  of 
Carthage,  which  was  rising  rapidly,  thanks  to  the  activity 
of  Dido's  subjects.  In  its  centre  stood  a  wonderful  temple, 
whose  brazen  gates  were  decorated  with  scenes  from  the 

>A11  the  quotations   in  this   article  are  from  Virgil's  Aeneid, 
Conington's    translation. 
5 


66  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

"War  of  Troy.  Hidden  from  all  eyes  by  a  divine  mist, 
Aeneas  and  Achates  tearfully  gazed  upon  these  reminders 
of  the  glories  past  and  mingled  with  the  throng  until  Queen 
Dido  appeared. 

She  was  no  sooner  seated  upon  her  throne  than  she  sum- 
moned into  her  presence  some  prisoners  just  secured,  in 
whom  Aeneas  recognized  with  joy  the  vajious  captains  of 
his  missing  ships.  Then  he  overheard  them  bewail  the  storm 
which  robbed  them  of  their  leader,  and  was  pleased  because 
Dido  promised  them  entertainment  and  ordered  a  search 
made  for  their  chief. 

The  right  moment  having  come,  the  cloud  enveloping 
Aeneas  and  Achates  parted,  ajid  Dido  thus  suddenly  be- 
came aware  of  the  presence  of  other  strangers  in  their 
midst.  Endowed  by  Venus  with  special  attractions  so  as 
to  secure  the  favor  of  the  Libyan  queen,  Aeneas  stepped 
gracefully  forward,  made  himself  known,  and,  after  paying 
due  respect  to  the  queen,  joyfully  greeted  his  comrades. 
Happy  to  harbor,  so  famous  a  warrior.  Dido  invited  Aeneas 
to  a  banquet  in  her  palace,  an  invitation  he  gladly  accepted, 
charging  Achates  to  hasten  back  to  the  ships  to  announce 
their  companions'  safety  and  to  summon  lulus  or  Ascanius 
to  join  his  father.  To  make  quite  sure  Aeneas  should 
captivate  Dido's  heart,  Venus  now  substituted  Cupid  for 
lulus,  whom  she  meantime  conveyed  to  one  of  her  favorite 
resorts.  It  was  therefore  in  the  guise  of  the  Trojan  prince 
that  Cupid,  during  the  banquet,  caressingly  nestled  in 
Dido's  arms  and  stealthily  effaced  from  her  heart  all  traces 
of  her  former  husband's  face,  filling  it  instead  with  a  re- 
sistless passion  for  Aeneas,  which  soon  impelled  her  to 
invite  him  to  relate  his  escape  from  Troy. 

Book  II.  With  the  eyes  of  all  present  upon  him,  Aeneas 
related  how  the  Greeks  finally  devised  a  colossal  wooden 
horse,  wherein  their  bravest  chiefe  remained  concealed 
while  the  remainder  of  their  forces  pretended  to  sail  home, 
although  they  anchored  behind  a  neighboring  island  to 
await  the  signal  to  return  and  sack  Troy.  Overjoyed  by 
the  departure  of  the  foe,  the  Trojans  hastened  down  to  the 


THE  AENEID  67 

shore,  where,  on  discovering  the  huge  wooden  horse,  they 
joyfully  proposed  to  drag  it  into  their  city  as  a  trophy.  In 
vain  their  priest,  Laocoon,  implored  them  to  desist,  hurling 
his  spear  at  the  horse  to  prove  it  was  hollow  and  hence 
might  conceal  some  foe.  This  daring  and  apparent  sacrilege 
horrified  the  Trojans,  who,  having  secured  a  Greek  fugitive 
in  a  swamp  near  by,  besought  him  to  disclose  what  purpose 
the  horse  was  to  serve.  Pretending  to  have  suffered  great 
injustice  at  the  Greeks'  hands,  the  slave  (Sinon)  replied 
that  if  they  removed  the  wooden  horse  into  their  walls  the 
Trojans  would  greatly  endajiger  the  safety  of  their  foes, 
who  had  left  it  on  the  shore  to  propitiate  Neptune.  Enticed 
by  this  prospect,  the  Trojans  proved  more  eager  than  ever 
to  dra^  the  horse  into  their  city,  even  though  it  necessitated 
pulling  down  part  of  their*  walls.  Meantime  part  of  the 
crowd  gathered  about  Laocoon  who  was  to  offer  public 
thanks  on  the  seashore,  but,  even  while  he  wa^  standing  at 
the  altar,  attended  by  his  sons,  two  huge  seirpents  arose 
out  of  the  sea  and,  coiling  fiercely  around  priest  and  both 
acolytes,  throttled  them  in  spite  of  their  efforts. 

He  strains  his  strength  their  knots  to  tear. 
While  gore  and  slime  his  fillets  smear. 
And  to  the  unregardful  skies 
Sends  up  his  agonizing  cries. 

On  seeing  this,  the  horror-struck  Trojans  immediately  con- 
cluded Laooobn  was  being  punished  for  having  attacked 
the  woodten  horse,  which  they  joyfully  dragged  into  Troy, 
although  the  prophet-princess,  Cassandra,  besought  them 
to  desist,  foretelling  all  manner  of  woe. 

Night  now  fell  upon  the  city^  where,  for  the  first  time 
in  ten  years,  aU  slept  peacefully  without  fear  of  surprise. 
At  midnight  Sinon  released  the  captive  Greeks  from  the 
wooden  steed,  and,  joined  by  their  companions,  who  had 
noiselessly  returned,  they  swarmed  all  over  the  undtef  ended 
city.  Aeneas  graphically  described  for  Dido's  benefit  his 
peaceful  sleep,  when  the  phantom  of  the  slaughtered  Hector 
bade  him  arise  and  flee  with  his  family,  because  the  Greeks 


68  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

had  already  taken  possession  of  Troy !  At  this  moment  loud 
clamors  awakened  him,  confirming  what  he  had  just  heard 
in  dream.  Aeneas  immediately  rushed  to  the  palace  to 
defend  his  king,  he  and  his  men  stripping  the  armor  from 
fallen  Greeks  to  enable  them  to  get  there  unmolested.  Still, 
they  arrived  only  in  time  to  see  Achilles'  son  rush  into  the 
throne-room  and  cruelly  murder  the  aged  Priam  after  kill- 
ing his  youngest  son.  They  also  beheld  the  shrieking  women 
ruthlessly  dragged  off  into  captivity,  Cassandra  wUdly 
predicting  the  woes  which  would  befall  the  Greek  chiefs  on 
their  way  home. 

Ah  see!  the  Priameian  fair, 
Cassandra,  by  her  streaming  hair 

Is  dragged  from  Pallas'  shrine, 
Her  wild  eyes  raised  to  Heaven  in  vain — 
Her  eyes,  alas !   for  cord^;  and  chain 

Her  tender  hands  confine. 

The  fall  of  aged  Priam  and  the  plight  of  the  women  re- 
minding Aeneas  of  the  danger  of  his  own  father,  wife,  and 
son,  he  turned  to  rush  home.  On  his  way  thither  he  met 
his  mother,  who  for  a  moment  removed  the  mortal  veil 
from  his  eyes,  to  let  him  see  Neptune,  Minerva,  and  Juno 
zealously  helpiag  to  ruin  Troy.  Because  Venus  passion- 
ately urged  her  son  to  escape  while  there  was  yet  time, 
Aeneas,  on  reaching  home,  besought  his  father  Anchises  to 
depart,  but  it  was  only  when  the  old  man  saw  a  bright 
flame  hover  over  the  head  of  his  grajidson,  lulus,  that  he 
realized  heaven  intended  to  favor  his  race  and  consented 
to  leave.  Seeing  him  too  weak  to  walk,  his  son  bade  him 
hold  the  household  goods,  and  carried  him  off  on  his  back, 
leading  his  boy  by  the  hand  and  calling  to  his  wife  and 
servants  to  follow.  Thus  burdened,  Aeneas  reached  a  ruined 
fane  by  the  shore,  only  to  discover  his  beloved  wife  was 
missing.  Anxiously  retracing  his  footsteps,  he  encountered 
her  shade,  which  bade  him  cease  seeking  for  her  among  the 
living  and  hasten  to  Hesperia,  where  a  new  wife  and  home 
awaited  him. 


THE  AENEID  69 

"Then,  while  I  dewed  with  tears  my  cheek 
And  strove  a  thousand  things  to  speak, 

She  melted  into  night: 
Thrice  I  essayed  her  neck  to  clasp: 
Thrice  the  vain  semblance  mocked  my  grasp, 
As  wind  or  slumber  light." 

Thus  enlightened  in  regard  to  his  consort's  fate  and  wishes, 
Aeneas  hastened  back  to  his  waiting  companions,  and  with 
them  prepared  to  leave  the  Trojan  shores. 

Book  III.  Before  long  Aeneas'  fleet  landed  on  the 
Thracian  coast,  where,  while  preparing  a  sacrifice,  our  hero 
was  horrified  to  see  blood  flow  from  the  trees  he  cut  down. 
This  phenomenon  was,  however,  explained  by  an  under- 
ground voice,  relating  how  a  Trojan  was  robbed  and  slain 
by  the  inhabitants  of  this  land,  and  how  trees  had  sprung 
from  the  javelins  stuck  in  his  breast. 

Unwilling  to  linger  in  such  a  neighborhood,  Aeneas 
sailed  to  Delos,  where  an  oracle  informed  him  he  would 
be  able  to  settle  only  in  the  land  whence  his  ancestors  had 
come.  Although  Anchises  interpreted  this  to  mean  they 
were  to  go  to  Crete,  the  household  gods  informed  Aeneas, 
during  the  journey  thither,  that  Hesperia  was  their 
destined  goal.  After  braving  a  three-days  tempest,  Aeneas 
landed  on  the  island  of  the  Harpies,  horrible  monsters  who 
defiled  the  travellers'  food  each  time  a  meal  was  spread. 
They  not  only  annoyed  Aeneas  in  this  way,  but  predicted, 
when  attacked,  that  he  should  find  a  home  only  when  driven 
by  hunger  to  eat  boards. 

"  But  ere  your  town  with  walls  ye  fence, 
Fierce  famine,  retribution  dread 
For  this  your  murderous  violence, 

Shall  make  you  eat  your  boards  for  bread." 

Sailing  off  again,  the  Trojans  next  reached  Epirus, 
which  they  found  governed  by  Helenus,  a  Trojan,  for 
Achilles'  son  had  already  been  slain.  Although  Hector's 
widow  was  now  queen  of  the  realm  where  she  had  been 
brought  a  captive,  she  still  mourned  for  her  noble  hus- 
band, and  gladly  welcomed  the  fugitives  for  his  sake.  It  was 


70  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

during  the  parting  sacrifice  that  Helenns"  predicted  that, 
after  long  wanderings,  his  guests  would  settle  in  Italy,  in 
a  spot  where  they  would  find  a  white  sow  suckling  thirty 
young.  He  also  cautionedj  Aeneas  about  the  hidden  dangers 
of  Charybdis  and  Seylla,  and  bade  him  visit  the  C'umaean 
Sibyl,  so  as  to  induce  her,  if  possible,  to  lend  him  her  aid. 

Restored  and  refreshed  by  this  brief  sojourn  among 
kinsmen,  Aeneas  and  his  followers  resumed  their  journey, 
steering  by  the  stars  and  avoiding  all  landing  in  eastern  or 
southern  Italy  which  was  settled  by  Greeks.  After  passing 
Charybdis  aud  Seylla  unharmed,  and  after  gazing  in  awe 
at  the  plume  of  smoke  crowning  Mt.  Aetna,  the  Trojans 
rescued  one  of  the  Greeks  who  had  escaped  with  Ulysses 
from  the  Cyclops'  cave  but  who  had  not  contrived  to  sail 
away. 

To  rest  his  weary  men,  Aeneas  finally  landed  at 
Drepaniun,  in  Sicily,  where  his  old  father  died  and  was 
buried  with  all  due  pomp.  It  was  shortly  after  leaving 
this  place,  that  Aeneas'  fleet  had  been  overtaken  by  the 
terrible  tempest  which  had  driven  his  vessels  to  Dido's 
shore. 

So  King  Aeneas  told  his  tale 

While  all  beside  were  still, 
Rehearsed  the  fortunes  of  his  sail 

And  fate's  mysterious  will: 
Then  to  its  close  his  legend  brought 
And  gladly  took  the  rest  he  sought. 

Book  IV.  While  Aeneas  rested  peacefully.  Dido's  new- 
bom  passion  kept  her  awake,  causing  her  at  dawn  to  rouse 
her  sister  Anna,  so  as  to  impart  to  her  the  agitated  state 
of  her  feelings.  Not  only  did  Anna  encourage  her  sister 
to  marry  again,  but  united  with  her  in  a  prayer  to  which 
Venus  graciously  listened,  although  Juno  reminded  her  that 
Trojans  and  Carthaginians  were  destined  to  be  foes.  Still, 
as  Goddess  of  Marriage,  Juno  finally  consented  that  Aeneas 
and  Dido  be  brought  together  in  the  course  of  that  day's 
hunt. 

We  now  have  a  description  of  the  sunrise,  of  the  prepara- 


THE  AENEID  71 

tions  for  the  chase,  of  the  queen's  dazzling  appearance, 
and  of  the  daring  huntsmanship  of  the  false  lulus.  But 
the  brilliant  hunting  expedition  is  somewhat  marred  in 
the  middle  of  the  day  by  a  sudden  thunderstorm,  during 
which  Aeneas  and  Dido  accidentally  seek  refuge  in  the 
same  cave,  where  we  are  given  to  understand  their  union 
takes  place.  So  momentous  a  step,  proclaimed  by  the 
hundred-mouthed  Goddess  of  Fame,  rouses  the  ire  of  the 
native  chiefs,  one  of  whom  fervently  hopes  Carthage  may 
rue  having  spared  these  Trojan  refugees.  This  prayer  is 
duly  registered  by  Jupiter,  who  further  bids  Mercury 
remind  Aeneas  his  new  realm  is  to  be  founded  in  Italy 
and  not  on  the  African  coast ! 

Thus  divinely  ordered  to  leave,  Aeneas  dares  not  dis- 
obey, but,  dreading  Dido's  reproaches  and  tearsi,  he  pre- 
pares to  depart  secretly.  His  plans  are,  however,  detected 
by  Dido,  who  vehemently  demands  how  he  dares  forsake 
her  now?  By  Jupiter's  orders,  Aeneas  remains  unmoved 
by  her  reproaches,  and  sternly  reminds  her  that  he  always; 
declared  he  was  bound  for  Italy.  So,  leaving  Dido  to  brood 
over  her  wrongs,  Aeneas  hastens  down  to  the  shore  to 
hasten  his  preparations  for  departure.  Seeing  this,  Dido 
implores  her  sister  to  detain  her  lover,  and,  as  this  proves 
vain,  orders  a  pyre  erected,  on  which  she  places  all  the 
objects  Aeneas  has  used. 

That  night  the  gods  arouse  Aeneas  from  slumber  to 
bid  him  sail  without  taking  leave  of  the  Tyrian  queen.  In 
obedience  to  this  command,  our  hero  cuts  with  his  sword 
the  rope  which  moors  his  vessel  to  the  Carthaginian  shore, 
and  sails  away,  closely  followed  by  the  rest  of  his  fleet. 
Prom  the  watch-tower  at  early  dawn.  Dido  discovers  his 
vanishing  sails',  and  is  so  overcome  by  grief  that,  after  rend- 
ing ' '  her  golden  length  of  hair  "and  calling  down  vengeance 
upon  Aeneas,  she  stabs  herself  and  breathes  her  last  in  the 
midst  of  the  burning  pyre.  The  Cartha^nians,  little  .ex- 
pecting so  tragical  a  denouement,  witness  the  agony  of 
their  beloved  queen  in  speechless  horror,  while  Anna  wails 
aloud.     Gazing  down  from  heaven  upon  this  sad  scene. 


72  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Juno  directs  Iris  to  hasten  down  and  cut  off  a  lock  of 
Dido's  hair,  for  it  is  only  when  this  mystic  ceremony  has 
been  performed  that  the  soul  can  leave  the  body.  Iris 
therefore  speedily  obeys,  saying: 

"  This  lock  to  Dis  I  bear  away 
And  free  you  from  your  load  of  clay:  " 
So  shears  the  lock:   the  vital  heats 
Disperse,  and  breath  in  air  retreats. 

Book  V.  Sailing  on,  Aeneas,  already  dismayed  by  the 
smoke  rising  from  the  Carthaginian  shore,  is  further 
troubled  by  rapidly  gathering  clouds.  His  weather-wise 
pilot,  Palinurus,  suggests  that,  since. "the  west  is  darkening 
into  wrath,"  they  run  into  the  Drepanum  harbor,  which 
they  enter  just  one  year  after  Anchises'  death.  There 
they  show  due  respect  to  the  dead  by  a  sacrifice,  of  which  a 
serpent  takes  his  tithe,  and  proceed  to  celebrate  funeral 
games.  We  now  have  a  detailed  account  of  the  winning 
of  prizes  for  the  naval,  foot,  horse  and  chariot  races,  and 
the  boxing  and  archery  matches. 

While  all  the  men  are  thus  congenially  occupied,  the 
Trojan  women,  instigated  by  Juno  in  disguise,  set  fire  to 
the  ships,  so  they  need  no  longer  wander  over  seas  they 
have  learned  to  loathe.  One  of  the  warriors,  seeing  the 
smoke,  raises  the  alarm,  and  a  moment  later  his  companions 
dash  down  to  the  shore  to  save  their  ships.  Seeing  his 
fleet  in  flames,  Aeneas  wrings  his  hands,  and  prays  with 
such  fervor  that  a  cloudburst  drenches  his  burning  vessels. 
Four,  however,  are  beyond  repair ;  so  Aeneas,  seeing  he  no 
longer  has  ship-room  for  all  his  force,  allows  the  Trojans 
most  anxious  to  rest  to  settle  in  Drepanum,  taking  with 
him  only  those  who  are  willing  to  share  his  fortunes. 

Before  he  leaves,  his  father's  ghost  appears  to  him, 
bidding  him,  before  settling  in  Latium,  descend  into  Hades 
by  way  of  Lake  Avemus,  and  visit  him  in  the  Elysian 
Fields  to  hear  what  is  to  befall  his  race. 

When  Aeneas  leaves  Drepanum  on  the  next  day,  his 
mother  pleads  so  successfully  in  his  behalf  that  Neptune 
promises  to  exact  only  one  life  as  toll. 


THE  AENEED  73 

"  One  life  alone  shall  glut  the  wave; 
One  head  shall  fall  the  rest  to  save.'' 

Book  VI.  Steering  to  Comae,  where  the  Sibyl  dwells, 
Aeneas  seeks  her  cave,  whose  entrance  is  barred  by  bronzen 
gates,  on  which  is  represented  the  story  of  Daedalus, — 
the  first  bird  man, — ^who,  escaping  from  the  Labyrinth  at 
Crete,  gratefully  laid  his  wings  on  this  altar.  "We  are 
further  informed  that  the  Sibyl  generally  wrote  her  oracles 
on  separate  oak  leaves,  which  were  set  in  due  order  in  her 
cave,  but  which  the  wind,  as  soon  as  the  doors  opened, 
scattered  or  jumbled  together,  so  that  most  of  her  pre- 
dictions proved  unintelligible  to  those  who  visited  her 
shrine.  After  a  solemn  invocation,  Aeneas  besought  her 
not  to  baffle  him  by  writing  on  oak  leaves,  and  was  favored 
by  her  apparition  and  the  announcement  that,  after  escap- 
ing sundry  perils  by  land  and  sea  and  reddening  the  Tiber 
with  blood,  he  would,  thanks  to  Greek  aid,  triumph,  over 
his  foes  and  settle  in  Latium  with  a  new  bride.  Undaunted 
by  the  prospect  of  these  trials,  Aeneas  besought  the  Sibyl 
to  guide  him  down  to  Hades,  to  enable  him  to  visit  his 
father,  a  journey  she  flatly  recused  to  undertake,  unless 
he  procured  the  golden  bough  which  served  as  a  key  to 
that  region,  and  unless  he  showed  due  respect  to  the 
corpse  of  his  friend.  Although  both  conditions  sounded 
mysterious  when  uttered,  Aeneas  discovered,  on  rejoining 
his  crew,  that  one  of  his  Trojans  had  been  slain.  After 
celebrating  his  funeral,  our  hero  wandered  off  into  a  neigh- 
boring forest,  where  some  doves — ^his  mother's  birds — 
guided  him  to  the  place  where  grew  the  golden  bough  he 
coveted. 

Armed  with  this  talisman  and  escorted  by  the  Sibyl, 
Aeneas,  by  way  of  Lake  Avemus,  entered  the  gloomy  cave 
which  formed  the  entrance  to  Hades.  Following  the  fly- 
ing footsteps  of  his  mystic  guide,  he  there  plunged  into 
the  realm  of  night,  soon  reaching  the  precinct  of  departed 
souls,  where  he  saw  innumerable  shades.  Although  he 
immediately  crossed  the  river  in  Charon's  leaky  punt,  many 
spirits  were  obliged  to  wait  a  hundred  years,  simply  because 


74  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

they  could  not  pay  for  their  passage.  Among  these  un- 
fortunates Aeneas  recognized  his  recently  drowned  pilot, 
who  related  how  he  had  come  to  his  death  and  by  what 
means  he  was  going  to  secure  funeral  honors. 

In  spite  of  the  thre&-headed  dog  and  sundry  other  grew- 
some  sights,  Aeneas  and  his  guide  reached  the  place  where 
Minos  holds  judgment  over  arriving  souls,  and  viewed  the 
region  where  those  who  died  for  love  were  herded  together. 
Among  these  ghosts  was  Dido,  but,  although  Aeneas  pity- 
ingly addressed  her,  she  sullenly  refused  to  answer  a  word. 
Farther  on  Aeneas  came  to  the  place  of  dead  heroes,  and 
there  beheld  brave  Hector  and  clever  Teucer,  together  with 
many  other  warriors  who  took  part  in  the  Trojan  War. 

-  After  allowing  him  to  converse  a  brief  while  with  these 
friends,  the  Sibyl  vouchsafed  Aeneas  a  passing  glimpse  of 
Tartarus  and  of  its  great  criminals,  then  she  hurried  him 
on  to  the  Elysian  Fields,  the  home  of  ' '  the  illustrious  dead, 
who  fighting  for  their  country  bled,"  to  inquire  for 
Anchises.  The  visitors  were  immediately  directed  to  a 
quiet  valley,  where  they  found  the  aged  Trojan,  pleasantly 
occupied  contemplating  the  unborn  souls  destined  to  pass 
gradually  into  the  upper  world  and  animate  the  bodies  of 
his  progeny.  On  beholding  his  son,  who,  as  at  Drepanum, 
vainly  tried  to  embrace  him,  Anchises  revealed  all  he  had 
learned  in  regard  to  life,  death,  and  immortality,  and  gave 
a  synopsis  of  the  history  of  Rome  for  the  next  thousand 
years,  naming  its  great  worthies,  from  Romulus,  founder 
of  Rome,  down  to  Augustus,  first  emperor  and  ruler  of  the 
main  part  of  the  world. 

This  account  of  the  glories  and  vicissitudes  of  his  race 
takes  considerable  time,  and  when  it  is  finished  the  Sibyl 
guides  Aeneas  back  to  earth  by  one  of  the  two  gates  which 
lead  out  of  this  dismal  region.  Pleased  with  having  accom- 
plished his  errand  so  successfully  and  duly  encouraged  by 
all  he  has  learned,  Aeneas  returns  to  his  fleet  and  sets  sail 
for  the  home  he  is  so  anxious  to  reach. 

Book  VII.  We  now  skirt  with  Aeneas  the  west  coast 
of  Italy,  sail  past  Circe's  island,  and  see  his  ships  driven 


THE  AENEID  75 

up  the  -winding  Tiber  by  favorable  winds.  On  his  first 
landing  the  Muse  Erato  rehearses  for  our  benefit  the  his- 
tory of  the  Latins,  whose  royal  race,  represented  at  present 
by  Latinus,  claims  to  descend  from  Saturn.  Although 
Latinus  has  already  betrothed  his  daughter  Lavinia  to 
Tumus,  a  neighboring  prince,  he  is  favored  by  an  omen 
at  the  moment  when  the  Trojans  laud.  On  seeking  ail 
interpretation  of  this  sign,  he  learns  he  is  not  to  bestow 
his  daughter  upon  Tumus,  but  is  to  reserve  her  hand  for 
a  stranger,  whose  descendants  will  be  powerful  indeed. 

Meantime  the  Trojans  feast  upon  meat  which  is  served 
to  each  man  on  a  wheaten  cake.  Young  lulus,  greedily 
devouring  his,  exclaims  playfuUy  that  he  is  so  hungry  he 
has  actually  eaten  the  board  on  which  has  meal  was  spread ! 
Hearing  these  significant  words,  his  happy  father  exclaims 
they  have  reached  their  destined  goal,  since  the  Harpies' 
terrifying  prophecy  has  been  fulfilled. 

"Hail,  auspicious  land!  "  he  cries, 

"So  long  from  Fate  my  due! 
All  hail,  ye  Trojan  deities, 

To  Trojan  fortunes  true! 
At  length  we  rest,  no  more  to  roam. 
Here  is  our  country,  here  our  home." 

Then  the  Trojans  begin  to  explore,  and,  discovering 
Latinus'  capital,  send  thither  an  embassy  of  a  hundred 
men,  who  axe  hospitably  entertained.  After  hearing  all 
they  have  to  say,  Latinus  assures  them  that  men  of  his 
race  once  migrated  from  Asia,  and  that  the  gods  have  just 
enjoined  upon  him.  to  bestow  his  daughter  upon  a  foreign 
bridegroom.  When  he  proposes  to  unite  Lavinia  to  Aeneas, 
Juno,  unable  to  prevent  a  marriage  decreed  by  Fate,  tries 
to  postpone  it  by  infuriating  Amata,  mother  of  the  bride, 
and  causing  her  to  flee  into  the  woods  with  her  daughter. 
Not  satisfied  with  one  manifestation  of  power,  Juno 
despatches  Discord  to  ask  Turnus  if  he  will  tamely  allow 
his  promised  bride  to  be  given  to  another  man?  Such  a 
taunt  is  sufficient  to  determine  hot-headed  Tumus  to  make 
war,  but,  as  a  pretext  is  lacking,  one  of  the  Furies  prompts 


76  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

lulus  to  pursue  and  wound  the  pet  stag  of  a  young  shep- 
herdess called  Sylvia.  The  distress  of  this  rustic  maid  so 
excites  her  shepherd  brothers  that  they  fall  upon  the  Tro- 
jans, who,  of  course,  defend  themselves,  and  thus  the  con- 
flict begins.  Having  successfully  broken  the  peace,  Dis- 
cord hastens  back  to  Juno,  who,  seeing  Latinus  would  fain 
remain  neutral,  compels  him  to  take  part  in  the  war  by 
opening  with  her  own  hand  the  gates  of  the  temple  of  Janus. 
Here  the  poet  recites  the  names  of  the  various  heroes  about 
to  distinguish  themselves  on  either  side,  specially  men- 
tioning in  the  Rutules'  force  Mezentius,  his  son  Lausus, 
and  the  Volseian  maid  Camilla,  who  prefers  the  stirring 
life  of  a  eamp  to  the  peaceful  avocations  of  her  sex. 

Book  Yin.  Because  Turnus  is  reinforced  by  many 
allies,  Aeneas  is  anxious  to  secure  some  too,  and  soon  sets 
out  to  seek  the  aid  of  Evander,  king  of  Etruria,  formerly 
a  Greek.  On  his  way  to  this  realm,  Aeneas  perceives  on 
the  banks  of  the  Tiber  a  white  sow  with  thirty  young,  which 
he  sacrifices  to  the  gods  in  gratitude  for  having  pointed  out 
to  him  the  spot  where  his  future  capital  will  rise.  On 
reaching  the  Etruscan's  stronghold,  Aeneas  readily  secures 
the  promise  of  a  large  contingent  of  warriors,  who  prepare 
to  join  him  under  the  command  of  Pallas,  son  of  the  king. 
He  then  assists  at  a  great  Etruscan  banquet  in  honor  of 
one  of  Hercules'  triumphs,  and  while  he  is  sleeping  there 
his  mother,  Venus,  induces  her  blacksmith  husband,  Vulcan, 
to  make  him  a  suit  of  armor. 

Dawn  having  appeared,  Evander  entertains  his  guests 
with  tales,  while  his  son  completes  his  preparations. 
Aeneas'  departure,  however,  is  hastened  by  Venus,  who 
warns  her  son  that  his  camp  is  in  danger  when  she  delivers 
to  him  the  armor  she  has  procured.  This  is  adorned  by 
many  scenes  in  the  coming  history  of  Rome,  among-which 
special  mention  is  made  of  the  twins  suckled  by  the  tra- 
ditional wolf,  of  the  kidnapping  of  the  Sabines,  and  of  the 
heroic  deeds  of  Codes,  Cloelia,  and  Manlius,  as  well  as 
battles  and  festivals  galore.* 


'  See  the  author's  "  Story  of  the  Romans." 


THE  AENEID  77 

Booh  IX.  Meantime,  obedient  to  Tumus'  orders,  the 
Rutules  have  surrounded  the  Trojan  camp  and  set  fite  to 
Aeneas'  ships.  But,  as  Pate  has  decreed  these  vessels  shall 
be  immortal,  they  sink  beneath  the  waves  as  soon  as  the 
flames  touch  them,  only  to  reappear  a  moment  later  as  ocean- 
nymphs  and  swim  down  the  Tiber  to  warn  Aeneas  of  the 
danger  of  his  friends.  This  miracle  awes  the  foe,  until 
Turnus  boldly  interprets  it  in  his  favor,  whereupon  the 
Rutules  attack  the  foreigners'  camp  so  furiously  that  the 
Trojans  gladly  accept  the  proposal  made  by  Nisus  and 
Euryalus  to  slip  out  and  summon  Aeneas  to  return. 

Stealing  out  of  the  Trojan  camp  by  night,  these  two 
heroes  bravely  thread  their  way  through  their  sleeping 
foes,  killing  sundry  famous  warriors  as  they  go,  and  ap- 
propriating choice  bits  of  their  spoil.  Leaving  death  in 
their  wake,  the  two  Trojans  pass  through  the  enemy's 
ranks  and  finally  enter  a  forest,  where  they  are  pursued 
by  a  troop  of  the  Volscians,  who  surround  and  slay 
Euryalus.  But,  although  Nisus  first  manages  to  escape 
from  their  hands,  he  returns  to  defend  his  comrade  and 
is  slain  too.  The  Volscians  therefore  bear  two  bloody  heads 
to  the  Rutules  camp  to  serve  as  their  war  standards  on  the 
next  day.  It  is  thus  that  Euryalus'  mother  becomes  aware 
of  the  death  of  her  son,  whom  she  mourns  in  t(Hiching 
terms. 

"  Was  it  this,  ah  me, 
I  followed  over  land  and  sea? 
O  slay  me,  Rutules!   if  ye  know 
A  mother's  love,  on  me  bestow 

The  tempest  of  your  spears! 
Or  thou,  great  Thunderer,  pity  take, 
And  whelm  me  'neath  the  Stygian  lake. 
Since  otherwise  I  may  not  break 

This  life  of  bitter  tears!  " 

To  recount  all  the  deeds  of  valor  performed  on  this 
day  would  require  much  space,  but,  although  Mars  in- 
spires the  party  of  Aeneas  with  great  courage,  it  is  evi- 
dently on  the  verge  of  defeat  when  Jupiter  orders  Tumus 
to  withdraw. 


78  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Book  X.  Having  convoked  his  Olympian  council,  Jupiter 
forbids  the  gods  to  interfere  on  either  side,  and  decrees 
that  the  present  quarrel  S'hall  be  eettled  without  divine 
aid.  Hearing  this,  Venus  vehemently  protests  that,  having 
promised  her  son  should  found  a  new  realm  in  Italy,  he 
is  bound  to  protect  him,  while  Juno  argues  with  equal  force 
that  the  Trojans  should  be  further  punished  for  kidnapping 
Helen.  Silencing  both  goddesses,  Jupiter  reiterates'  his 
orders  and  dissolves  the  assembly. 

The  scene  now  changes  back  to  earth,  where  the  Trojans, 
closely  hemmed  in  by  foes,  long  for  Aeneas'  return.  He, 
on  his  way  back,  encounters  the  sea-nymphs,  who  explain 
they  were  once  his  ships  and  bid  him  hasten  and  rescue  his 
son.  Thus  admonished,  Aeneas  hurries  back,  to  take  part 
in  a  battle  where  many  heroic  deeds  are  performed,  and 
where  Tumus,  Mezentius,  and  Lausus  prove  bravest  on  the 
enemy's  side,  although  they  find  their  match  in  Aeneas, 
Pallas,  and  lulus.  Among  the  briUiant  duels  fought,  men- 
tion must  be  made  of  one  between  Pallas  and  Tumus,  where 
notwithstanding  his  courage  the  Trojan  prince  succumbs. 
After  stripping  his  companion  of  his  armor,  Tumus 
abandons  his  corpse  to  his  friends,  who  mourn  to  think  that 
he  lost  his  life  while  helping  them.  Vowing  to  avenge  him, 
Aeneas  next  attacks  his  foe  with  such  fury,  that  it  seems 
as  if  Tumus'  last  day  has  come,  but  Juno  pleads  so 
eloquently  in  his  behalf,  that,  although  Pate  has  decreed 
he  shall  perish,  she  grants  him  brief  respite. 

To  preserve  Tumus  from  the  deadly  blows  of  the>  real 
Aeneas,  Juno  causes  him  to  pursue  a  phantom  foe  on  board 
a  ship,  whose  moorings  she  loosens,  thuiS  setting  him  adrift 
upon  the  Tiber.  Perceiving  only  then  how  he  has  been 
tricked,  Tumus  threatens  to  slay  himself,  but  is  restrained 
by  Juno,  who  after  awhile  allows  him  to  land  and  return 
to  the  battle.  Thus  deprived  of  his  principal  foe,  Aeneas 
ranges  over  the  battlefield,  where  he  wounds  Mezentius  and 
kills  Lausus.  Seeing  his  beloved  son  is  gone,  Mezentius 
is  so  anxious  to  die  that  he  now  offers  an  unresisting  throat 
to  Aeneas,  who  slays  him  on  the  spot. 


THE  AENEID  79 

"One  boon    (if  vanquished  foe  may  crave 
The  victor's  grace)    I  ask — ^a  grave. 
My  wrathful  subjects  round  me  wait: 
Protect  me  from  their  savage  hate. 
And  let  me  in  the  tomb  enjoy 
The  presence  of  my  slaughtered  boy." 

Booh  XI.  Having  made  a  trophy  of  the  enemies'  spoil, 
Aeneas,  even  before  proceeding  to  bury  his  ovm  comrades, 
adorns  the  body  of  Pallas  and  sends  it  back  to  Etruria. 
Then  he  bai^ains  with  Tumns'  ambassadors  for  a  twelve- 
days  truce,  during  which  both  parties  celebrate  pompous 
funerals,  the  finest  of  all  being  that  of  Pallas. 

Hoping  to  check  further  bloodshed,  Latinus  now  pro- 
poses a  peace,  whose  terms  Aeneas  is  wiUing  to  accept,  but 
which  Tumus  angrily  rejects  since  they  deprive  him  of 
his  promised  bride.  The  conflict  is  therefore  resumed,  and 
the  next  interesting  episode  refers  to  Camilla,  the  warrior 
maid,  whose  father  when  she  was  only  a  babe  tied  her  to 
the  shaft  of  his  spear  and  flung  her  across  a  torrent  he  was 
unable  to  stem  with  her  in  his  arms.  Having  thus  saved 
her  from  the  enemy's  clutches,  this  father  taught  Camilla 
to  fight  so  bravely,  that  she  causes  dire  havoc  among  the 
Trojans  before  she  dies,  using  her  last  breath  to  implore 
Tumus  to  hasten  to  the  rescue. 

"Go:  my  last  charge  to  Tur'nus  tell. 
To  haste  with  succor,  and  repel 
The  Trojans  from  the  town — farewell." 
She  spoke,  and  speaking,  dropped  her  rein. 
Perforce  descending  to  the  plain. 
Then  by  degrees  she  slips  away 
From  all  that  heavy  load  of  clay: 
Her  languid  neck,  her  drowsy  head 
She  droops  to  earth,  of  vigor  sped: 
She  lets  her  martial  weapons  go: 
The  indignant  soul  flies  down  below. 

Book  Xn.  Unappeased  by  Latinus'  reiterated  asser- 
tions that  he  is  bestowing  Lavinia  upon  a  stranger  merely 
to  obey  the  gods,  or  by  the  entreaties  in  which  Amata  now 
joins,  Turnus  still  refuses  peace.  More  fighting  therefore 
ensues,   during  which  Aeneas  is  wounded  in  the  thigh. 


80  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

While  his  leech  is  vainly  trying  to  stanch  his  blood,  Venus 
drops  a  magic  herb  into  the  water  used  for  bathing  his 
wounds  and  thus  miraculously  cures  him.  Plunging  back 
into  the  fray,  which  becomes  so  horrible  that  Amata  brings 
Lavinia  home  and  commits  suicide,  Turnus  and  Aeneas 
finally  meet  in  duel,  but,  although  Juno  would  fain  inter- 
fere once  more  in  behalf  of  her  protege,  Jupiter  refuses  to 
allow  it.  But  he  grants  instead  his  wife 's  petition  that  the 
Trojan  name  and  language  shall  forever  be  merged  into 
that  of  the  Latin  race. 

"Let  Latium  prosper  as  she  will, 
Their  thrones  let  Alban  monarchs  fill; 
Let  Eome  be  glorious  on  the  earth. 
The  centre  of  Italian  worth; 
But  fallen  Troy  be  fallen  still. 
The  nation  and  the  name." 

Toward  the  end  of  this  momentous  encounter,  during 
which  both  heroes  indulged  in  sundry  boastful  speeches, 
a  bird  warns  Tumus  that  his  end  is  near,  and  his  sister 
Juturna  basely  deserts  him.  Driven  to  bay  and  deprived 
of  all  other  weapons,  Tumus  finally  hurls  a  rock  at  Aeneas, 
who,  dodging  this  missile,  deals  Mm  a  deadly  wound. 
Tumus  now  pitifully  begs  for  mercy,  but  the  sight  of 
Pallas'  belt,  which  his  foe  proudly  wears,  so  angers  Aeneas 
that,  after  wrathfuUy  snatching  it  from  him,  he  deals  his 
foe  the  deadly  blow  which  ends  this  epic. 

"What!    in  my  friend's  dear  spoils  arrayed 

To  me  for  mercy  sue? 
'Tis  Pallas,  Pallas  guides  the  blade: 
Prom  your  cursed  blood  his  injured  shade 

Thus  takes  atonement  due." 
Thus  as  he  spoke,  his  sword  he  drave 

With  fierce  and  fiery  blow 
Through  the  broad  breast  before  him  spread: 
The  stalwart  limbs  grow  cold  and  dead: 
One  groan  the  indignant  spirit  gave, 

Then  sought  the  shades  below. 


FRENCH  EPICS 

The  national  epic  in  France  bears  the  characteristic 
name  of  Chanson  de  Geste,  or  song  of  deed,  because  the 
trouveres  in  the  north  and  the  troubadours  in  the  south 
wandered  from  castle  to  castle  singing  the  prowesses  of 
the  lords  and  of  their  ancestors,  whose  reputations  they 
thus  made  or  ruined  at  will. 

In  their  earliest  form  these  Chansons  de  Geste  were 
invariably  in  verse,  but  in  time  the  most  popular  were 
turned  into  lengthy  prose  romances.  Many  of  the  hundred 
or  more  Chansons  de  Geste  still  preserved  were  composed 
in  the  northern  dialect,  or  langue  d'oil,  and,  although 
similar  epics  did  exist  in  the  langue  d'oc,  they  have  the 
"great  defect  of  being  lost,"  and  only  fragments  of 
Flamenga,  etc.,  now  exist. 

There  are  three  great  groups  or  cycles  of  French  epics : 
first  the  Cycle  of  Fl-anee,  dealing  specially  with  Charle- 
magne,— the  champion  of  Christianity, — ^who,  representing 
Christ,  is  depicted  surrounded  by  twelve  peers  instead  of 
twelve  disciples.  Among  these,  to  carry  out  the  scriptural 
analogy,  lurks  a  traitor,  Ganelon;  so,  in  the  course  of  the 
poems,  we  are  favored  with  biblical  miracles,  such  as  the 
sun  pausing  in  its  course  until  pagans  can  be  punished,  and 
angels  appearing  to  comfort  dying  knights.  The  finest 
sample  of  this  cycle  is  without  doubt  the  famous  Chanson 
de  Roland,  of  which  a  complete  synopsis  follows.  Other 
remarkable  examples  of  this  cycle  are  Aliscans,  Raoul  de 
Cambrai,  Garin  le  Lorrain,  Guillaume  d 'Orange,  Les 
Quatre  Fils  d'Aymon,  Ogier  le  Danois,  etc. 

Even  the  character  of  the  hero  varies  from  age  to  age, 
for  whereas  Charlemagne  in  the  Chanson  de  Roland — 
which  dates  perhaps  as  far  back  as  the  tenth  century — is 
a  heroic  figure,  he  becomes  during  later  periods,  when 
vassals  rise  up  against  their  overlords, — an  object  of  con- 
tempt and  ridicule.  A  marked  example  of  this  latter  style 
6  81 


82  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

of  treatment  is  furnished  by  Les  Quatre  PUs  d'Aymon.^ 
The  second  group,  or  cycle  of  Brittany,  animated  by  a 
chivalrous  spirit,  and  hence  termed  court  epic,  finds  its 
greatest  exponent  in  the  poet  Chrestien  de  Troyes,  whose 
hero  Arthur,  King  of  Brittany,  gathers  twelve  knights 
around  his  table,  one  of  whom,  Mordred,  is  to  prove 
traitor.  The  principal  poems  of  this  cycle  are  Launcelot 
du  Lac,  Ivain  le  Chevalier  au  Lion,  Erec  and  Enide,  Mer- 
lin, Tristan,  and  Perceval.  These  poems  all  treat  of 
chivalry  and  love,  and  introduce  the  old  pagan  passion- 
breeding  philtre,  as  well  as  a  whole  world  of  magie  and 
fairies.  These  epics  will  be  noticed  at  greater  length  when 
we  treat  of  the  English  versions  of  Arthur  and  the  Elnights 
of  the  Round  Table,  because  many  of  the  poems  have  been 
reworked  in  modem  English  and  are  hence  most  popular 
in  that  language. 

Besides  the  Chansons  de  Geste  pertaining  to  various 
phases  of  this  theme,  the  Breton  cycle  includes  many  shorter 
works  termed  lais,  which  also  treat  of  love,  and  were  com- 
posed by  Marie  de  France  or  her  successors.  The  best 
known  of  all  these  "cante-fables"  is  the  idyllic  Aucassin 
et  Nicolette,  of  which  a  full  account  is  embodied  iu  this 
volume. 

One  of  the  best  samples  of  the  domestic  epic  in  this 
cycle  is  the  twelfth  century  Amis  and  Amiles,  in  which 
two  knights,  bom  and  baptized  on  the  same  day,  prove  so 
alike  as  to  become  interchangeable.  StiU,  brought  up  in 
separate  provinces,  Amis  and  Amiles  meet  and  become 
friends  only  when  knighted  by  Charlemagne,  whose  gra- 
ciousness  toward  them  rouses  the  jealousy  of  the  felon 
knight  Hardr6.  When  Charlemagne  finally  offers  his  niece 
to  Amiles  (who,  through  modesty,  passes  her  on  to  Amis) , 
the  felon  accuses  the  former  of  treacherously  loving  the 
king's  daughter  BeUicent,  and  thereupon  challenges  him 
to  fight.  Conscious  of  not  being  a  traitor,  although  guilty 
of  loving  the  princess,  Amiles  dares  not  accept  this  chal- 

iSee  the  author's  "  Legends  of  the  Middle  Ages.'' 


FRENCH  EPICS  83 

lenge,  and  changes  places  -with  Amis,  who  personates  him 
in.  the  lists.  Because  Amis  thus  commits  perjury  to  rescue 
his  friend  from  a  dilemma,  he  is  in  due  time  stricken  with 
leprosy,  deserted  by  his  wife,  and  sorely  ill  treated  by  his 
vassals.  After  much  suffering,  he  discovers  his  sole  hope 
of  cure  consists  in  bathing  in  the  blood  of  the  children  which 
in  the  meanwhile  have  been  bom  to  Amiles  and  to  his 
princess-wife.  When  the  leper  Amis  reluctantly  reveals 
this  fact  to  his  friend  Amiles,  the  latter,  although  broken- 
hearted, unhesitatingly  slays  his  children.  Amis  is  imme- 
diately cured,  and  both  knights  hasten  to  church  together 
to  return  thanks  and  inform  the  mother  of  the  death  of 
her  little  ones.  The  princess  rushes  to  theii'  chamber  to 
mourn  over  their  corpses,  only  tor  discover  that  meantime 
they  have  been  miraculously  restored  to  life!  This  story 
is  very  touchingly  told  in  the  old  Chanson,  which  contains 
many  vivid  and  interesting  descriptions  of  the  manners 
of  the  time. 

In  this  cycle  are  also  included  Gerard  de  Roussillon, 
Hugues  Capet,  Macaire  (wherein  occurs  the  famous  episode 
of  the  Dog  of  Montargis),  and  Huon  de  Bordeaux,  which 
latter  supplied  Shakespeare,  Wieland,  and  Weber  with 
some  of  the  dramatis  personae  of  their  well-known  comedy, 
poem,  and  opera.  We  must  also  mention  what  are  often 
termed  the  Crusade  epics,  of  which  the  stock  topics  are 
quarrels,  challenges,  fights,  banquets,  and  tournaments,  and 
among  which  we  note  les  Enfances  de  Godefroi,  Antioche, 
and  Tudela's  Song  of  the  Crusade  against  the  Albigenses. 

The  third  great  cycle  is  known  as  Matiere  de  Rome  la 
grand,  or  as  the  antique  cycle.  It  embodies  Christianized 
versions  of  the  doings  of  the  heroes  of  the  Iliad,  Odyssey, 
Aeneid,  Thebais,  Alexandreid,  etc.  In  their  prose  forms 
the  Roman  de  Thebes,  Roman  de  Troie,  and  Roman 
d 'Alexandre  contain,  besides,  innumerable  mediaeval  em- 
belhshments,  among  others  the  first  mention  in  French  of 
the  quest  for  the  Fountain  of  Youth. 

Later  on  in  French  literature  we  come  across  the  aninual 
epic,  or  Roman  du  Renard,  a  style  of  composition  which 


84  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

found  its  latest  and  most  finished  expression  in  Germany 
at  the  hands  of  Goethe,  and  the  aUegorieal  epic,  Le  Roman 
de  la  Rose,  wherein  abstract  ideas  were  personified,  such 
as  Hope,  Slander  (Malebouche),  Danger,  etc. 

There  are  also  epie  poems  based  on  Le  Combat  des 
Trente  and  on  the  doings  of  Du  Guesclin.  Ronsard,  in  his 
Franciade,  claims  the  Franks  as  lineal  descendants  from 
Francus,  a  son  of  Priam,  and  thus  connects  French  history 
with  the  war  of-  Troy,  just  as  Waee,  in  the  Norman  Romaa 
de  Rou,  traces  a  similar  analogy  between  the  Trojan  Brutus 
and  Britain.  Later  French  poets  have  attempted  epics, 
more  or  less  popular  in  their  time,  among  which  are  Alaric 
by  Scuderi,  Clovis  by  St.  Sorlin,  and  two  poems  on  La 
Pucelle,  one  by  Chapelain,  and  the  other  by  Voltaire. 

Next  comes  la  Henriade,  also  by  Voltaire,  a  half 
bombastic,  half  satirical  account  of  Henry  IV's  wars 
to  gain  the  crown  of  France.  This  poem  also  contains 
some  very  fine  and  justly  famous  passages,  but  is  too 
long  and  too  artificial,  as  a  whole,  to  please  modem  readers. 

The  most  popular  of  all  the  French  prose  epics  is,  with- 
out dispute,  Fenelon's  Telemaque,  or  account  of  Tele- 
machus'  journeys  to  find  some  trace  of  his  long-absent 
father  Ulysses. 

Les  Martyrs  by  Chateaubriand,  and  La  Legende  des 
Siecles  by  Victor  Hugo,  complete  the  tale  of  important 
French  epics  to  date, 

THE  SONG  OF  ROLAND  ^ 

Introduction.  The  earliest  and  greatest  of  the  French 
epics,  or  chansons  de  geste,  is  the  song  of  Roland,  of  which 
the  oldest  copy  now  extant  is  preserved  in  the  Bodleian 
Library  and  dates  back  to  the  twelfth  century.  Whether 
the  Turoldus  (Theroulde)  mentioned  at  the  end  of  the 
poem  is  poet,  copyist,  or  mere  reciter  remains  a  matter  of 
conjecture. 

'Another  version  of  this  story  can  be  found  in  the  author's 
"JLegends  of  the  Middle  Ages." 


THE  SONG  OF  ROLAND  85 

The  poem  is  evidently  based  on  popular  songs  which 
no  longer  exist.  It  consists  of  4002  verses,  written  in 
langue  d'oil,  grouped  in  stanzas  or  "laisses"  of  irregular 
length,  in  the  heroic  pentameter,  having  the  same  assonant 
rhyme,  and  each  ending  with  "aoi,"  a  word  no  one  has 
succeeded  in  translating  satisfactorily.  It  was  so  popular 
that  it  was  translated  into  Latin  and  German  (1173-1177), 
and  our  version  may  be  the  very  song  sung  by  Taillefer  at 
the  battle  of  Hastings  in  1066. 

It  has  inspired  many  poets,  and  Eoland's  death  has 
been  sung  again  by  Goethe,  Schiller,  Pulei,  Boiardo,  Ariosto, 
Bemi,  Bomier,  etc.  History  claims  that  French  armies, 
once  in  the  reign  of  Dagobert  and  once  in  that  of  Charle- 
magne, were  attacked  and  slaughtered  in  the  Pyrenees,  but 
not  by  the  Saracens.  Besides,  Charlemagne's  secretary, 
Eginhart,  briefly  mentions  in  his  chronicles  that  in  778, 
Roland,  prefect  of  the  Marches  of  Brittany,  was  slain 
there.^  Although  the  remainder  of  the  story  has  no  his- 
torical basis,  the  song  of  Roland  is>  a  poetical  asset  we 
would  not  willingly  relinquish. 

Part  I.  A  Council  held  by  King  Mabsile  at 
Sabagossa. — The  Song  of  Roland  opens  with  the  statement 
that,  after  spending  seven  years  in  Spain,  Charlemagne  is 
master  of  all  save  the  city  of  Saragossa. 

The  king,  our  Emperor  Carlemaine, 
Hath  been  for  seven  full  years  in  Spain. 
From  highland  to  sea  hath  he  won  the  land; 
City  was  none  might  his  arm  withstand; 
Keep  and  castle  alike  went  down — 
Save  Saragossa  the  motmtain  town.* 

It  is  in  Saragossa  that  King  Marsile,  holding  an  open- 
air  council,  informs  his  followers  he  no  longer  has  men 
to  oppose  to  the  Preneh.  When  he  inquires  what  he  shall 
do,  the  wisest  of  his  advisers  suggests  that,  when  might 
fails,  craft  can  gain  the  day.    Therefore,  he  moots  sending 

'  See  the  author's  "  Story  of  Old  France." 

'All  the  quotations  in  this  chapter  are  from  John  O'Hagen's 
translation  of  the  "  Song  of  Eoland." 


86  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

gifts  to  Charlemagne,  with  a  promise  to  follow  him  to 
France  to  do  homage  and  receive  baptism.  Even  should 
Charlemagne  exact  hostages,  this  councillor  volunteers  to 
give  his  own  son,  arguing  it  is  better  a  few  should  fall  than 
Spain  be  lost  forever.  This  advice  is  adopted  by  Marsile, 
who  then  despatches  bearers  of  olive  branches  and  gifts  to 
Charlemagne. 

Council  held  hy  Charlemagne  at  Cordova.  The  Saracen 
emissaries  find  the  French  emperor  seated  on  a  golden 
throne  ia  an  orchard,  his  peers  around  him,  watching  the 
martial  games  of  fifty  thousand  warriors.  After  receiving 
Marsile 's  message,  Charlemagne  dismisses  the  ambassadors 
for  the  night,  promising  answer  on  the  morrow.  When  he 
bids  his  courtiers  state  their  opinions,  Roland  impetuously 
declares  that,  as  Marsile  has  tricked  them  once,  it  would 
not  become  them  to  believe  bini  now.  His  step-father, 
Gauelon,  thereupon  terms  him  a  hot-headed  young  fool, 
and  avers  he  prizes  his  own  glory  more  than  his  fellow- 
men's  lives.  The  wisest  among  Charlemagne's  advisers, 
however,  Duke  Naimes,  argues  that  the  Saracen's  offers  of 
submission  should  be  met  half-way,  and,  as  the  remainder 
of  the  French  agree  with  him,  Charlemagne  calls  for  a 
messenger  to  bear  his  acceptance  to  Marsile.  Although 
Boland,  Oliver,  and  Naimes  eagerly  sue  for  this  honor, 
Charlemagne,  unwilling  to  spare  his  peers,  bids  them  ap- 
point a  baron.  When  Roland  suggests  his  step-father, 
Ganelon — who  deems  the  expedition  hazardous — ^becomes 
so  angry  that  he  reviles  his  step-son  in  the  emperor's  pres- 
ence, vowing  the  youth  is  maliciously  sending  him  to  his 
death,  and  muttering  he  will  have  revenge.  These  violent 
threats  elicit  Roland's  laughter,  but  Charlemagne  checks 
the  resulting  quarrel  by  delivering  message  and  emblems 
of  office  to  Ganelon.  To  the  dismay  of  all  present,  he, 
however,  drops  the  glove  his  master  hands  him,  an  accident 
viewed  as  an  omen  of  ill  luck.  Then,  making  speedy 
preparations  and  pathetically  committing  wife  and  son  to 
the  care  of  his  countrymen,  Ganelon  starts  out,  fully  ex- 
pecting never  to  return. 


THE  SONG  OP  ROLAND  87 

The  Embassy  and  the  Crime  of  Ganelon.  On  his  way 
to  Saragossa,  Ganelon  converses  with  the  Saracens,  who 
express  surprise  that  Charlemagne — ^whom  they  deem  two 
hundred  years  old — should  still  long  for  conquest.  In 
return  Ganelon  assures  them  his  master  will  never  cease 
fighting  as  long  as  Roland  is  one  of  his  peers,  for  this  knight 
is  determined  to  conquer  the  world.  The  Saracens,  noticing 
his  bitter  tone,  now  propose  to  rid  Ganelon  of  his  step-son, 
provided  he  will  arrange  that  Roland  command  the  rear- 
guard of  the  French  army.  Thus  riding  along,  they  devise 
the  plot  whereby  this  young  hero  is  to  be  led  into  an  ambush 
in  the  Valley  of  Roncevaux  (RoncesvaUes),  where,  by  slay- 
ing him,  they  will  deprive  Charlemagne  of  his  main 
strength. 

"  For  whoso  Koland  to  death  shall  bring. 
From  Karl  his  good  right  arm  will  wring. 
The  marvellous  host  will  melt  away, 
No  more  shall  he  muster  a  like  array." 

Arriving  in  the  presence  of  the  Saracen  king,  Ganelon 
reports  Charlemagne  ready  to  accept  his  offers,  provided 
he  do  homage  for  one  half  of  Spain  and  abandon  the  other 
to  Roland.  Because  Ganelon  adds  the  threat  that,  should 
this  offer  be  refused,  Charlemagne  proposes  to  seize  Sara- 
gossa and  bear  Marsile  a  prisoner  to  Aix,  the  Saracen  king 
angrily  orders  the  execution  of  the  insolent  messenger. 
But  the  Ftenchmen's  truculent  attitude  forbids  the  guards' 
approach,  and  thus  gives  the  ambassadors  a  chance  to  in- 
form Marsile  that  Ganelon  has  promised  to  help  them  to 
outwit  Charlemagne  by  depriving  him  of  his  most  efficient 
general  Hearing  this,  Marsile 's  anger  is  disarmed;  and 
he  not  only  agrees  to  their  plan  to  surprise  Roland  while 
crossing  the  Pyrenees,  but  sends  Ganelon  back  laden  with 
gifts. 

On  rejoining  his  master  at  the  foot  of  the  mountains, 
Ganelon  delivers  the  keys  of  Saragossa,  and  reports  that 
the  caliph  has  sailed  for  the  Bast,  with  one  hundred  thous- 
and men,  none  of  whom  care  to  dwell  in  a  Christian  land. 
Hearing  this,  Charlemagne,  imagining  his  task  finished. 


88  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

returns  thanks  to  God,  and  prepares  to  wend  his  way  back 
to  France,  where  he  expects  Marsile  to  follow  him  and  do 
homage  for  Spain. 

Karl  the  Great  hath  wasted  Spain, 
Her  cities  sacked,  her  castles  ta'en; 
But  now  "My  wars  are  done,"  he  cried, 
"And  home  to  gentle  France  we  ride." 

The  Bear-guard  amd  Roland  Condemned  to  Death.  On 
the  eve  of  his  return  to  "sweet  France,"  Charlemagne's 
rest  is  disfturbed  by  horrible  dreams,  in  one  of  which  Ganelon 
breaks  his  lance,  while  in  the  other  wild  animals  are  about 
to  attack  him.  On  awaking  from  this  nightmare,  Charle- 
magne divides  his  army  so  as  to  thread  his  way  safely 
through  the  narrow  passes  of  the  mountains,  arranging  that 
a  force  shall  remain  twenty  miles  in  his  rear  to  make  sure 
he  shall  not  be  surprised  by  the  foe.  When  he  inquires  to 
whom  this  important  command  shall  be  entrusted,  Ganelon 
eagerly  suggests  that,  as  Roland  is  the  most  valiant  of  the 
peers,  the  task  be  allotted  to  him.  Anxious  to  keep  his 
nephew  by  him,  Charlemagne  resents  this  suggestion,  but, 
when  he  prepares  to  award  the  post  to  some  one  else,  Roland 
eagerly  claims  it,  promising  France  shaU  lose  nothing 
through  him. 

"  God  be  my  judge,"  was  the  count's  reply, 
"If  ever  I  thus  my  race  belie. 

But  twenty  thousand  with  me  shall  rest. 

Bravest  of  all  your  Franks  and  best; 

The  mountain  passes  in  safety  tread, 

While  I-  breathe  in  life  you  have  nought  to  dread." 

Because  it  is  patent  to  all  that  his  step-father  proposed  Ids 
name  through  spite,  Roland  meaningly  remarks  that  he  at 
least  will  not  drop  the  insignia  of  his  rank,  and  in  proof 
thereof  proudly  clutches  the  bow  Charlemagne  hands  him, 
and  boastfully  declares  twelve  peers  and  twenty  thousand 
men  will  prove  equal  to  any  emergency. 

Fully  armed  and  mounted  on  his  steed  (Veillantif ) , 
Roland,  from  an  eminence,  watches  the  vanguard  of  the 


THE  SONG  OF  ROLAND  89 

French  army  disappear  in  the  mountain  gorges,  calling  out 
to  the  last  men  that  he  and  his  troop  will  follow  them  soon ! 
This  vanguard  is  led  by  Charlemagne  and  Ganelon,  and, 
as  it  passes  on,  the  heavy  tramp  of  the  mailed  steeds  causes 
the  ground  to  shake,  while  the  clash  of  the  soldiers'  arms 
is  heard  for  miles  around.  They  have  already  travelled 
thirty  miles  and  are  just  nearing  France,  whose  sunny 
fields  the  soldiers  greet  with  cries  of  joy,  when  Duke  Naimes 
perceives  tears  flowing  down  the  emperor's  cheeks,  and 
learns  that  they  are  caused  by  apprehension  for  Roland. 

High  were  the  peaks,  and  the  valleys  deep. 

The  mountains  wondrous  dark  and  steep; 

Sadly  the  Franks  through  the  passes  wound. 

Fully  fifteen  leagues  did  their  tread  resound. 

To  their  own  great  land  they  are  drawing  nigh. 

And  they  look  on  the  fields  of  Gascony. 

They  think  of  their  homes  and  their  manors  there, 

Their  gentle  spouses  and  damsels  fair. 

Is  none  but  for  pity  the  tear  lets  fall; 

But  the  anguish  of  Karl  is  beyond  them  all. 

His  sister's  son  at  the  gates  of  Spain 

Smites  on  his  heart,  and  he  weeps  amain. 

The  evident  anxiety  of  Charlemagne  fills  the  hearts  of 
all  Frenchmen  with  nameless  fear,  and  some  of  them 
whisper  that  Ganelon  returned  from  Saragossa  with  sus- 
piciously rich  gifts.  Meantime  Roland,  who  has  merely 
been  waiting  for  the  vanguard  to  gain  some  advance,  sets 
out  to  cross  the  mountains  too;  where,  true  to  his  agree- 
ment with  Ganelon,  Marsile  has  concealed  a  force  of  one 
hundred  thousand  men,  led  by  twelve  Saracen  generals, 
who  are  considered  fully  equal  to  the  French  peers,  and 
who  have  vowed  to  slay  Roland  in  the  passes  of  Roneevaux. 

Pabt  II.  Prelude  to  the  Great  Battle.  It  is  only 
when  the  Saracen  army  is  beginning  to  close  in  upon  the 
French,  that  the  peers  become  aware  of  their  danger.  Oliver, 
Roland 's  bosom  friend,  the  first  to  descry  the  enemy,  calls 
out  that  this  ambush  is  the  result  of  Ganelon 's  treachery, 
only  to  be  silenced  by  Roland,  who  avers  none  shall  accuse 
his  step-father  without  proof.  Then,  hearing  of  the  large 
force  approaching,  Roland  exclaims,  "Cursed  be  he  who 


90  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

flees, ' '  and  admonishes  all  present  to  show  their  mettle  and 
die  fighting  bravely. 

The  Pride  of  Roland.  Because  the  enemies'  force  so 
greatly  outnumbers  theirs,  Oliver  suggests  that  Roland 
soimd  his  horn  to  summon  Charlemagne  to  his  aid;  but, 
unwilling  to  lose  any  glory,  this  hero  refuses,  declaring  he 
will  strike  one  hundred  thousand  such  doughty  blows  with 
his  mighty  sword  (Durendal),  that  all  the  pagans  wiU  be 
laid  low. 

"Roland,  Roland,  yet  wind  one  blast! 

Karl  will  hear  ere  the  gorge  be  passed. 

And  the  Franks  return  on  their  path  full  fast." 
"  I  will  not  sound  on  mine  ivory  horn: 

It  shall  never  be  spoken  of  me  in  scorn. 

That  for  heathen  felons  one  blast  I  blew; 

I  may  not  dishonor  my  lineage  true. 

But  I  will  strike,  ere  this  fight  be  o'er, 

A  thousand  strokes  and  seven  hundred  more, 

And  my  Durindana  shall  drip  with  gore. 

Our  Franks  will  bear  them  like  vassals  brave. 

The  Saracens  flock  but  to  find  a  grave." 

In  spite  of  the  fact  that  Oliver  thrice  implores  him  to 
summon  aid,  Roland  thrice  refuses ;  so  his  friend,  perceiving 
he  win  not  yield,  finally  declares  they  must  do  their  best, 
and  adds  that,  should  they  not  get  the  better  of  the  foe, 
they  will  at  least  die  fighting  nobly.  Then  Archbishop 
Turpin — one  of  the  peers — assures  the  soldiers  that,  since 
they  are  about  to  die  as  martyrs,  they  will  earn  Paradise, 
and  pronounces  the  absolution,  thus  inspiring  the  French 
with  such  courage  that,  on  rising  from  their  knees,  they 
rush  forward  to  earn  a  heavenly  crown. 

Riding  at  their  head,  Roland  now  admits  to  Oliver  that 
Ganelon  must  have  betrayed  them,  grimly  adding  that  the 
Saracens  will  have  cause  to  rue  their  treachery  before  long. 
Then  he  leads  his  army  down  the  valley  to  a  more  open 
space,  where,  as  soon  as  the  signal  is  given,  both  friends 
plunge  into  the  fray,  shouting  their  war-cry  ("Montjoie"). 

The  Medley.  In  the  first  ranks  of  the  Saracens  is  a 
nephew  of  Marsile,  who  loudly  boasts  Charlemagne  is 
about  to  lose  his  right  arm ;  but,  before  he  can  repeat  this 


THE  SONG  OP  ROLAND  91 

taunt,  Eoland,  spurring  forward,  runs  his  lance  through 
his  body  and  hurls  it  to  the  ground  with  a  turn  of  his 
wrist.  Then,  calling  out  to  his  men  that  they  have  scored 
the  first  triumph,  Roland  proceeds  to  do  tremendous  execu- 
tion among  the  foe.  The  poem  describes  many  of  the 
duels  which  take  place, — ^for  each  of  the  twelve  peers 
specially  distinguishes  himself, — while  the  Saracens,  con- 
scious of  vastly  superior  numbers,  return  again  and  again 
to  the  attack.  Even  the  archbishop  fights  bravely,  and 
Roland,  after  dealing  fifteen  deadly  strokes  with  his  lance, 
resorts  to  his  sword,  thus  meeting  the  Saracens  at  such 
close  quarters  that  every  stroke  of  his  blade  hews  through 
armor,  rider,  and  steed. 

At  the  last  it  brake;  then  he  grasped  in  hand 
His  Durindana,  his  naked  brand. 
He  smote  Chernubles'  helm  upon, 
Where,  in  the  centre,  carbuncles  shone: 
Down  through  his  coif  and  his  fell  of  hair. 
Betwixt  his  eyes  came  the  falchion  bare, 
Down  through  his  plated  harness  fine, 
Down  through  the  Saracen's  chest  and  chine, 
Down  through  the  saddle  with  gold  inlaid, 
Till  sank  in  the  living  horse  the  blade, 
Severed  the  spine  where  no  joint  was  found. 
And  horse  and  rider  lay  dead  on  ground. 

In  spite  of  Roland's  doughty  blows,  his  good  sword 
suffers  no  harm,  nor  does  that  of  Oliver  (Hauteelaire),  with 
which  he  does  such  good  work  that  Eoland  assures  him  he 
win  henceforth  consider  him  a  brother.  Although  the 
French  slay  the  pagans  by  thousands,  so  many  of  their  own 
warriors  fall,  that,  by  the  time  they  have  repulsed  the  first 
Saracen  division,  only  sixty  of  Roland's  men  remain  alive. 

All  nature  seems  to  feel  the  terrible  battle  raging  in 
the  valley  of  Roncevaux,  for  a  terrible  storm  breaks  forth 
in  France,  where,  hearing  the  roll  of  the  thunder,  seeing 
the  flash  of  the  lightning,  and  feeling  the  earth  shake  be- 
neath their  feet,  the  French  fear  the  end  of  the  world  has 
come.  These  poor  warriors  are  little  aware  that  all  this 
commotion  is  due  to  "nature's  grief  for  the  death  of 
Roland." 


92  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Now  a  wondrous  storm  o'er  France  hath  passed. 

With  thunder-stroke  and  whirlwind's  blast; 

Rain  unmeasured,  and  hail,  there  came. 

Sharp  and  sudden  the  lightning's  flame; 

And  an  earthquake  ran — the  sooth  I  say. 

From  Besancon  city  to  Wissant  Bay; 

From  Saint  Michael's  Mount  to  thy  shrine,  Cologne, 

House  unrifted  was  there  none. 

And  a  darkness  spread  in  the  noontide  high — 

No  light,  save  gleams  from  the  cloven  sky. 

On  all  who  saw  came  a  mighty  fear. 

They  said,  "  Tha  end  of  the  world  is  near." 

Alas,  they  spake  but  with  idle  breath, — 

'Tis  the  great  lament  for  Roland's  death. 

The  Horn.  During  the  brief  respite  allowed  them, 
Roland  informs  Oliver  that  he  wishes  to  notify  Charlemagne 
that  France  has  been  widowed  of  many  men.  In  reply, 
Oliver  rejoins  that  no  Frenchman  will  leave  this  spot  to 
bear  such  a  message,  seeing  all  prefer  death  and  honor  to 
safety !  Such  being  the  case,  Roland  proposes  to  sound  Ms 
horn,  whereupon  Oliver  bitterly  rejoins,  had  his  friend 
only  done  so  at  first,  they  would  have  been  reinforced  by 
now,  and  that  the  emperor  can  no  longer  reach  them  in 
time.  He  can,  however,  avenge  them  and  give  them  an 
honorable  burial,  Roland  argues,  and  he  and  his  friend 
continue  bickering  until  the  archbishop  silences  them,  bid- 
ding Roland  blow  his  horn.  Placing  Olifant  to  his  lips, 
the  hero,  after  drawing  a  powerful  breath,  blows  so  mighty 
a  blast  that  it  re-echoes  thirty  miles  away. 

This  sound,  striking  Charlemagne's  ear,  warns  him  that 
his  army  is  in  danger,  although  Ganelon  insists  Roland  is 
hunting.  While  blowing  a  second  blast,  Roland  makes  so 
mighty  an  effort  that  he  actually  bursts  the  blood-vessels  in 
his  temples,  and  the  Frenchmen,  hearing  that  caU,  aver  with 
awe  that  he  would  never  call  that  way  unless  in  dire  peril. 
Ganelon,  however,  again  insists  that  his  step-son  is  in  no 
danger  and  is  merely  coursing  a  hare. 

With  deadly  travail,  in  stress  and  pain. 
Count  Roland  sounded  the  mighty  strain. 
Forth  from  his  mouth  the  bright  blood  sprang, 
And  his  temples  burst  for  the  very  pang. 


ROLAND  AT  RONCESVAUX 
From  the  painting  by  L.  F.  Guesnet 


THE  SONG  OF  ROLAND  93 

On  and  onward  was  borne  the  blast. 

Till  Karl  hath  heard  as  the  gorge  he  passed, 

And  Naimes  and  all  his  men  of  war. 

"  It  is  Roland's  horn,"  said  the  Emperor, 

"And,  save  in  battle,  he  had  not  blown." 

"With  blood  pouring  from  mouth'  and  ears,  Roland 
sounds  his  horn  a  third  and  last  time,  producing  so  long  and 
despairing  a  note,  that  Naimes  vows  the  French  must  be  at 
the  last  extremity,  and  that  unless  they  hurry  they  will  not 
find  any  alive !  Bidding  all  his  horns  sound  as  a  signal  that 
he  is  coming,  Charlemagne — after  ordering  Ganelon  bound 
and  left  in  charge  of  the  baggage  train — leads  his  men 
back  to  Spain  to  Roland's  rescue. 

As  the  day  is  already  far  advanced,  helmets  and  armors 
glitter  beneath  the  rays  of  the  setting  sun  as  the  French- 
men spur  along,  tears  coursing  down  their  cheeks,  for  they 
apprehend  what  must  have  befallen  Roland,  who  was  evi- 
dently suffering  when  he  blew  that  third  blast ! 

The  Bout.  Meanwhile,  casting  his  eyes  over  the  battle- 
field, now  strewn  with  corpses,  Roland  mourns  his  fallen 
companions,  praying  God  to  let  their  souls  rest  in  Paradise 
on  beds  of  flowers.  Then,  turning  to  Oliver,  he  proposes 
that  they  fight  on  as  long  as  breath  remains  in  their  bodies, 
before  he  plunges  back  into  the  fray,  still  uttering  his  war- 
cry. 

By  this  time  the  French  are  facing  a  second  onslaught 
of  the  pagans,  and  Roland  has  felled  twenty-four  of  their 
bravest  fighters  before  Marsile  challenges  him  to  a  duel. 
Although  weak  and  weary,  Roland  accepts,  and  with  his 
first  stroke  hews  off  the  Saracen's  right  hand;  but,  before 
he  can  foUow  this  up  with  a  more  decisive  blow,  Marsile 
is  borne  away  by  his  followers.  Seeing  their  master  gallop 
off  towards  Spain,  the  remainder  of  the  Saracens,  crying 
that  Charlemagne's  nephew  has  triumphed,  cease  fighting 
and  flee.  Thus,  fifty  thousand  men  soon  vanish  in  the 
distance,  leaving  Roland  temporary  master  of  the  battle- 
field, which  he  knows  the  emperor  will  reach  only  after 
he  has  breathed  his  last. 


94  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

The  Death  of  Oliver.  Although  the  Saracens,  have  fled, 
some  Moors  remain  to  charge  the  Frenchmen,  whom  they 
wish  to  annihilate  before  Charlemagne  can  arrive.  Once 
more,  therefore,  Roland  urges  his  followers  to  do  their 
best,  cursing  those  who  dream  of  yielding.  Not  daring  ap- 
proach the  small  handful  of  doughty  Frenchmen,  the  pagans 
attack  them  from  a  distance  with  lance,  arrow,  and  spear, 
tauntingly  crying  Charlemagne  will  have  no  cause  to  pride 
himself  upon  having  appointed  them  to  guard  his  rear! 
Mortally  wounded  by  one  of  these  spears,  Oliver,  blindly 
cutting  down  the  foes  nearest  him,  bids  Roland  hasten  to 
his  rescue,  as  it  won't  be  long  before  they  part.  Seeing 
the  stream  of  blood  which  flows  from  his  friend's  wounds 
and  catching  a  glimpse  of  his  livid  face,  Roland  so  keenly 
realizes  Oliver's  end  is  near  that  he  swoons  in  his  saddle. 
The  wounded  man,  no  longer  able  to  see,  meanwhile  ranges 
wildly  around  the  battle-field,  striking  madly  right  and 
left.  In  doing  so  he  runs  against  Roland,  and,  failing  to 
recognize  him,  deals  him  so  powerful  a  blow  that  he  almost 
kills  him.  Gently  inquiring  why  his  friend  thus  attacks 
one  he  loves,  Roland  hears  Oliver  gasp,  "I  hear  you,  friend, 
but  do  not  see  you.  Forgive  me  for  having  struck  you, ' ' — 
a  more  than  ample  apology, — ere  he  dies. 

See  Eoland  there  on  his  charger  stwooned, 

Olivier  smitten  with  his  death  wound. 

His  eyes  from  bleeding  are  dimmed  and  dark, 

Nor  mortal,  near  or  far,  can  mark; 

And  when  his  comrade  beside  him  pressed, 

Fiercely  he  smote  on  his  golden  crest; 

Down  to  the  nasal  the  helm  he  shred, 

But  passed  no  further,  nor  pierced  his  head. 

Roland  marvelled  at  such  a  blow, 

And  thus  bespake  him  soft  and  low: 
"Hast  thou  done  it,  my  comrade,  wittingly? 

Roland  who  loves  thee  so  dear,  am  I, 

Thou  hast  no  quarrel  with  me  to  seek.'' 

Olivier  answered,  "  I  hear  thee  speak. 

But  I  see  thee  not.    God  seeth  thee. 

Have  I  struck  thee,  brother?     Forgive  it  me." 
"  I  am  not  hurt,  O  Olivier ; 

And  in  sight  of  God,  I  forgive  thee  here.'' 

Then  each  to  other  his  head  has  laid, 

And  in  love  like  this  was  their  parting  made. 


THE  SONG  OF  ROLAND  95 

On  seeing  that  his  friend  has  passed  away,  the  heart- 
broken Roland  again  swoons  in  his  saddle,  but  his  in- 
telligent steed  stands  still  until  his  master  recovers  his 
senses.  Gazing  around  him,  Roland  now  ascertains  that 
only  two  other  Frenchmen  are  still  alive,  and,  seeing  one 
of  them  severely  wounded,  he  binds  up  his  cuts  before 
plunging  back  into  the  fray,  where  he  accounts  for  twenty- 
five  pagans,  while  the  archbishop  and  the  wounded  soldier 
dispose  of  eleven  more. 

Charlemagne  Approaches.  The  last  Frenchmen  are 
fighting  madly  against  a  thousand  Moors  on  foot  and  four 
thousand  on  horseback,  when  the  spears  flung  from  a  dis- 
tance lay  low  the  wounded  man  and  deal  a  mortal  wound 
to  the  archbishop.  But,  even  while  dying,  Turpin  joins 
Roland  in  declaring  they  must  continue  to  fight,  so  that 
when  the  emperor  finds  their  bodies  he  can  see  they  have 
piled  hundreds  of  corpses  around  them.  This  resolve  is 
carried  out,  however,  only  at  the  cost  of  dire  suffering, 
for  the  archbishop  is  dying  and  Roland's  burst  temples 
cause  him  intense  pain.  Nevertheless,  he  once  more  puts 
his  horn  to  his  lips,  and  draws  from  it  this  time  so  pitiful 
a  blast  that,  when  it  reaches  the  ears  of  Charlemagne,  he 
woefully  exclaims:  "All  is  going  ill;  my  nephew  Roland 
will  die  to-day,  for  the  sound  of  his  horn  is  very  weak!" 

Again  bidding  his  sixty  thousand  trumpets  sound,  the 
emperor  urges  his  troops  to  even  greater  speed,  until  the 
noise  of  his  horns  and  the  tramp  of  his  steeds  reaches  the 
pagans'  ears  and  admonishes  them  to  flee.  Realizing  that, 
should  Roland  survive,  the  war  will  continue,  a  few  Moors 
make  a  final  frantic  attempt  to  slay  him  before  fleeing. 
Seeing  them  advance  for  a  last  onslaught,  Roland — ^who 
has  dismounted  for  a  moment — again  bestrides  his  steed 
and,  accompanied  by  the  staggering  archbishop,  bravely 
faces  them.  They,  however,  only  fling  missiles  from  a 
distance,  until  Roland's  shield  drops  useless  from  his  hand 
and  his  steed  sinks  lifeless  beneath  him !  Then,  springing 
to  his  feet,  Roland  defies  these  cowardly  foes,  who,  not 
daring  to  linger  any  longer,  turn  'and  flee,  crying  that 


96  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Eoland  has  won  and  Spain  is  lost  unless  the  emir  comes  to 
their  rescue! 

The  Last  Blessing  of  the  Archbishop.  While  the  pagans 
are  spurring  towards  Saragossa,  Eoland  remains  on  the 
battle-field,  for,  having  lost  his  steed  and  being  mortally 
wounded,  he  cannot  attempt  to  pursue  them.  After  tenderly- 
removing  the  archbishop's  armor,  binding  up  his  wounds, 
and  placing  him  comfortably  on  the  ground,  Roland  brings 
him  the  twelve  peers,  so  he  can  bless  them  for  the  last 
time.  Although  Archbishop  Turpin  admonishes  him  to 
hasten,  Roland  is  so  weak,  that  he  slowly  and  painfully 
collects  the  corpses  from  mountain  and  valley,  laying  them 
one  by  one  at  the  feet  of  the  archbishop,  who,  with  right 
hand  raised,  bestows  his  blessing.  WhUe  laying  Oliver  at 
Turpin 's  feet,  Roland  faints  from  grief,  so  the  prelate  pain- 
fully raises  himself,  and,  seizing  the  hero's  horn,  tries  to 
get  down  to  the  brook  to  bring  him  some  water.  Such  is 
his  weakness,  however,  that  he  stumbles  and  falls  dead, 
face  to  the  ground,  before  he  can  fulfil  his  kindly  intention. 

On  recovering  consciousness  and  seeing  nothing  save 
corpses  around  him,  Roland  exults  to  think  that  Charle- 
magne will  find  forty  dead  Saracens  for  every  slain  French- 
man !  Then,  feeling  his  brain  slowly  ooze  out  through  his 
ears,  Roland — after  reciting  a  prayer  for  his  dead  com- 
panions— grasps  his  sword  in  one  hand  and  his  horn  in 
th©  other,  and  begins  to  climb  a  neighboring  hill.  He 
tries  to  reach  its  summit  because  he  has  always. boasted 
he  would  die  face  toward  the  enemy,  and  he  longs  to  look 
defiance  toward  Spain  until  the  end. 

Painfully  reaching  the  top  of  this  eminence,  Roland 
stumbles  and  falls  across  a  Saracen,  who  has  been  feigning 
death  to  escape  capture.  Seeing  the  dreaded  warrior  un- 
conscious, this  coward  seizes  his  sword,  loudly  proclaiming 
he  has  triumphed ;  but,  at  his  first  touch,  Roland — ^recover- 
ing his  senses — deals  him  so  mighty  a  blow  with  his  horn, 
that  the  Saracen  falls  with  crushed  helmet  and  skull.  Hav- 
ing thus  recovered  his  beloved  Durendal,  Roland,  to  pre- 
vent its  again  falling  into  the  enemy's  hands,  vainly  tries 


THE  SONG  OF  ROLAND  97 

to  break  it  by  hewing  at  the  rocks  around  him,  but,  although 
he  uses  all  the  strength  he  has  left  to  deal  blows  that  cut 
through  the  stone,  the  good  sword  remains  undinted.  Full 
of  admiration,  Roland  then  recalls  the  feats  Durendal  has 
enabled  him  to  perform,  and,  lying  down  on  the  grass, 
places  beneath  him  sword  and  horn,  so  as  to  defend  them 
dead  as  well  as  alive !  Then,  having  confessed  his  sins  and 
recited  a  last  prayer,  Roland  holds  out  his  glove  toward 
heaven,  in  token  that  he  surrenders  his  soul  to  God,  and 
begs  that  an  angel  be  sent  to  receive  it  from  his  hand. 
Thus,  lying  beneath  a  pine,  his  face  toward  Spain,  his  last 
thoughts  for  France  and  for  God,  Roland  dies  in  the 
presence  of  the  angels,  who  bear  his  soul  off  to  Paradise. 

Roland  feeleth  his  hour  at  hand; 
On  a  knoll  he  lies  towards  the  Spanish  land. 
With  one  hand  beats  he  upon  his  breast: 
"In  thy  sight,  O  God,  be  my  sins  confessed. 
Prom  my  hour  of  birth,  both  the  great  and  small, 
Down  to  this  day,  I  repent  of  all." 
As  his  glove  he  raises  to  God  on  high. 
Angels  of  heaven  descend  him  nigh. 

Pakt  III.  Rbpbisals.  Roland  has  barely  breathed  his 
last  when  Charlemagne  arrives  on  the  battle-field  and,  gaz- 
ing around  him,  perceives  nothing  but  corpses.  Receiving 
no  answer  to  his  repeated  call  for  the  twelve  peers,  Charle- 
magne groans  it  was  not  without  cause  he  felt  anxious  and 
mourns  that  he  was  not  there  to  take  part  in  the  fray.  He 
and  his  men  weep  aloud  for  their  fallen  companions,  and 
twenty  thousand  soldiers  swoon  from  grief  at  the  sight  of 
the  havoc  which  has  been  made ! 

Still,  only  a  few  moments  can  be  devoted  to  sorrow,  for 
Duke  Naimes,  descrying  a  cloud  of  dust  in  the  distance, 
eagerly  suggests  that  if  they  ride  on  they  can  yet  overtake 
and  punish  the  foe !  Detailing  a  small  detachment  to  guard 
the  dead,  Charlemagne  orders  the  pursuit  of  the  Saracens, 
and,  seeing  the  sun  about  to  set,  prays  so  fervently  that 
daylight  may  last,  that  an  angel  promises  he  shall  have 
light  as  long  as  he  needs  it.    Thanks  to  this  miracle,  Charle- 

7 


98  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

magne  overtakes  the  Saracens  just  as  they  are  about  to 
cross  the  Ebro,  and,  after  killing  many,  drives  the  rest  into 
the  river,  where  they  are  drowned. 

It  is  only  when  the  last  of  the  foe  has  been  disposed  of 
that  the  sun  sets,  and,  perceiving  it  is  too  late  to  return  to 
Roncevaux  that  night,  Charlemagne  gives  orders  to  camp 
on  the  plain.  While  his  weary  men  sleep  peacefully,  the 
emperor  himself  spends  the  night  mourning  for  Roland  and 
for  the  brave  Frenchmen  who  died  to  defend  his  cause, 
so  it  is  only  toward  morning  that  he  enjoys  a  brief  nap, 
during  which  visions  foreshadow  the  punishment  to  be  in- 
flicted upon  Ganelon  and  all  who  uphold  him. 

In  the  mead  the  Emperor  made  his  bed. 
With  his  mighty  spear  beside  his  head. 
Nor  will  he  doff  his  arms  to-night, 
But  lies  in  his  broidered  hauberk  white. 
Laced  is  his  helm,  with  gold  inlaid. 
Girt  on  Joyeuse,  the  peerless  blade. 
Which  changes  thirty  times  a  day 
The  brightness  of  its  varying  ray. 

Meanwhile  the  wounded  Marsile  has  returned  to  Sara- 
gossa,  where,  while  binding  up  his  wounds,  his  wife  com- 
ments it  is  strange  no  one  has  been  able  to  get  the  better 
of  such  an  old  man  as  Charlemagne,  and  exclaims  the  last 
hope  of  the  Saracens  now  rests  in  the  emir,  who  has  just 
landed  in  Spain. 

At  dawn  the  emperor  returns  to  Roncevaux,  and  there 
begins  his  sad  search  for  the  bodies  of  the  peers.  Sure 
Roland  will  be  found  facing  the  foe,  he  seeks  for  his  corpse 
in  the  direction  of  Spain,  and,  discovering  him  at  last  on 
the  little  hill,  swoons  from  grief.  Then,  recovering  his 
senses,  Charlemagne  prays  God  to  receive  his  nephew's 
soul,  and,  after  pointing  out  to  his  men  how  bravely  the 
peers  fought,  gives  orders  for  the  burial  of  the  dead,  re- 
serving only  the  bodies  of  Roland,  Oliver,  and'  the  arch- 
bishop, for  burial  in  France. 

The  last  respects  have  barely  been  paid  to  the  fallen, 
when  a  Saracen  herald  summons  Charlemagne  to  meet  the 
emir.    So  the  French  mount  to  engage  in  a  new  battle. 


THE  SONG  OF  ROLAND  99 

Such  is  the  stimulus  of  Charlemagne's  words  and  of  his  ex- 
ample, that  all  his  men  do  wonders.  The  aged  emperor 
himself  finally  engages  in  a  duel  with  the  emir,  in  the 
midst  of  which  he  is  about  to  succumb,  when  an  angel 
bids  him  strike  one  more  blow,  promising  he  shall  triumph. 
Thus  stimulated,  Charlemagne  slays  the  emir,  and  the 
Saracens,  seeing  their  leader  slain,  flee,  closely  pursued  by 
the  Frenchmen,  who  enter  Saragossa  in  their  wake.  There, 
after  killing  aU  the  men,  they  pillage  the  town. 

On  discovering  that  Marsile  has  meantime  died  of  his 
wound,  Charlemagne  orders  his  widow  to  France,  where  he 
proposes  to  convert  her  through  the  power  of  love.  The 
remainder  of  the  pagans  are  compelled  to  receive  baptism, 
and,  when  Charlemagne  again  wends  his  way  through  the 
Pyrenees,  all  Spain  bows  beneath  his  sceptre. 

At  Bordeaux,  Charlemagne  deposits  upon  the  altar  of 
St.  Severin,  Roland's  Olifant,  filled  with  gold  pieces,  before 
personally  escorting  the  three  august  corpses  to  Blaye, 
where  he  sees  them  interred,  ere  he  hurries  on  to  Aix-la- 
Chapelle  to  judge  Ganelon. 

The  Chastisement  of  Ocmelon.  On  arriving  in  his 
palace,  Charlemagne  is  confronted  by  Alda  or  Aude,  a 
sister  of  Oliver,  who  frantically  questions:  "Where  is 
Boland  who  has  sworn  to  take  me  to  wife?"  Weeping  bit- 
terly, Charlemagne  informs  her  his  nephew  is  no  more, 
adding  that  she  can  marry  his  son,  but  Aude  rejoins  that, 
since  her  beloved  is  gone,  she  no  longer  wishes  to  live. 
These  words  uttered,  she  falls  lifeless  at  the  emperor's  feet." 

From  Spain  the  emperor  made  retreat. 

To  Aix  in  France,  his  kingly  seat; 

And  thither,  to  his  halls,  there  came, 

Alda,  the  fair  and  gentle  dame. 
"Where  is  my  Boland,  sire,"  she  cried, 
"Who  vowed  to  take  me  for  his  bride?" 

O'er  Karl  the  flood  of  sorrow  swept; 

He  tore  his  beard,  and  loudly  wept. 
"Dear  sister,  gentle  friend,"  he  said, 
"Thou  seekest  one  who  lieth  dead: 

I  plight  to  thee  my  son  instead, — 

•  See  the  author's  "  Legends  of  the  Rhine." 


100  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Louis,  who  lord  of  my  realm  shall  be." 
"  Strange,"  she  said,  "  seems  this  to  me. 
Crod  and  His  angels  forbid  that  I 
Should  live  on  earth  if  Roland  die." 
Pale  grew  her  cheek — she  sank  amain, 
Down  at  the  feet  of  Carlemaine. 
So  died  she.     God  receive  her  soul! 
The  Franks  bewail  her  in  grief  and  dole. 

The  time  having  come  for  the  trial,  Ganelon  appears 
before  his  judges,  laden  with  chains  and  tied  to  a  stake 
as  if  he  were  a  wild  beast.  "When  accused  of  depriving 
Charlemagne  of  twenty  thousand  Frenchmen,  Ganelon  re- 
torts he  did  so  merely  to  avenge  his  wrongs,  and  hotly 
denies  having  acted  as  a  traitor.  Thirty  of  his  kinsmen 
sustain  him  in  this  assertion,  one  of  them  even  volunteering 
to  meet  the  emperor's  champion  in  a  judicial  duel.  As 
the  imperial  champion  wins,  Ganelon  and  his  relatives  are 
adjudged  guilty,  but,  whereas  the  latter  thirty  are  merely 
hanged,  the  traitor  himself  is  bound  to  wild  horses  until 
torn  asunder. 

Having  thus  done  justice,  Charlemagne  informs  his 
courtiers  they  are  to  attend  the  baptism  of  a  Saracen  lady 
of  high  degree,  who  is  about  to  be  received  into  the  bosom 
of  the  church. 

The  men  of  Bavaria  and  Allemaine, 

Norman   and  Breton   return  again, 

And  with  all  the  Franks  aloud  they  cry. 

That  Gan  a  traitor's  death  shall  die. 

They  bade  be  brought  four  stallions  fleet;  , 

Bound  to  them  Ganelon,  hands  and  feet: 

Wild  and  swift  was  each  savage  steed, 

And  a  mare  was  standing  within  the  mead; 

Four  grooms  impelled  the  coursers  on, — 

A  fearful  ending  for  Ganelon. 

His  every  nerve  was  stretched  and  torn, 

And  the  limbs  of  his  body  apart  were  borne; 

The  bright  blood,  springing  from  every  vein, 

Left  on  the  herbage  green  its  stain. 

He  dies  a  felon  and  recreant: 

Never  shall  traitor  his  treason  vaunt. 

End  of  the  Song.  Having  thus  punished  the  traitor 
and  converted  the  heathen,  Charlemagne,  Ijring  in  his 
chamber  one  night,  receives  a  visit  from  the  angel  Gabriel, 


AUCASSIN  AND  NICOLETTE  101 

who  bids  him  go  forth  and  do  further  battle  against  the 
pagans.  Weary  of  warfare  and  longing  for  rest,  the  aged 
emperor  moans,  "God,  how  painful  is  my  life!"  for  he 
knows  he  must  obey. 

When  the  emperor's  justice  was  satisfied, 

His  mighty  wrath  did  awhile  subside. 

Queen  Bramimonde  was  a  Christian  made. 

The  day  passed  on  into  night's  dark  shade; 

As  the  king  in  his  vaulted  chamber  lay, 

Saint  Gabriel  came  from  God  to  say, 
"Karl,  thou  shalt  summon  thine  empire's  host. 

And  march  in  haste  to  Bira's  coast; 

Unto  Impha  city  relief  to  bring. 

And  succor  Vivian,  the  Christian  king. 

The  heathens  in  siege  have  the  town  essayed. 

And  the  shattered  Christians  invoke  thine  aid." 

Fain  would  Karl  such  task  decline. 
"God!  what  a  life  of  toil  is  mine!  " 

He  wept;  his  hoary  beard  he  wrung. 

Here  ends  the  Song  of  Theroulde. 


AUCASSIN  AND  NICOLETTE 

Who  would  list  to  the  good  lay 
Gladness  of  the  captive  grey? 
'Tis  how  two  young  lovers  met, 
Aucassin  and  Nicolette, 
Of  the  pains  the  lover  bore 
And  the  sorrow  he  outwore. 
For  the  goodness  and  the  grace. 
Of  his  love,  so  fair  of  face. 

Sweet  the  song,  the  story  sweet, 
There  is  no  man  hearkens  it. 
No  man  living  'neath  the  sun, 
So  outwearied,  so  foredone, 
Sick  and  woful,  worn  and  sad. 
But  is  healed,  but  is  glad. 

'Tis  so  sweet. 
So  say  they,  speak  they,  tell  they  the  tale." 

This  popular  mediaeval  ballad  is  in  alternate  fragments 
of  verse  and  prose,  and  relates  how  the  Count  of  Valence 

"All  the  quotations  in  this  chapter  are  from  Andrew  Lang's 
version  of  "  Aucassin  and  Nicolette." 


102  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

made  desperate  war  against  the  Count  of  Biauoaire,  a 
very  old  and  frail  man,  who  saw  that  his  castle  was  in 
imminent  danger  of  being  taken  and  sacked.  In  his  dis- 
tress, this  old  lord  besought  his  son  Aucassin,  who  so  far 
had  taken  no  interest  in  the  war,  to  go  forth  and  fight.  The 
youth,  however,  refused  to  do  so,  saying  his  heart  was 
wrapped  up  in  love  for  Nicolette,  a  fair  slave  belonging  to  a 
captain  in  town.  This  man,  seeing  the  delicacy  of  his  slave 
and  realizing  she  must  belong  to  some  good  family,  had  her 
baptized  and  treated  her  as  if  she  were  an  adopted  daughter. 

On  account  of  Nicolette 's  lowly  condition,  Aucassin 's 
father  refuses  to  listen  when  the  young  man  proposes  to 
marry  her,  and  sternly  bids  him  think  of  a  wife  better 
suited  to  his  rank.  The  young  lover,  however,  vehemently 
insists  that  Nicolette  is  fit  to  be  an  empress,  and  vows 
he  will  not  fight  until  he  has  won  her  for  his  own.  On 
seeing  how  intractable  this  youth  is,  the  father  beseeches 
the  owner  of  the  slave  to  clap  her  in  prison,  so  that  Aucassin 
will  not  be  able  to  get  at  her  in  any  way. 

Heart-broken  to  think  that  his  lady-love  is  undergoing 
captivity  in  his  behalf,  Aucassin  spends  his  time  mo- 
ping. To  induce  him  to  fight,  his  father  finally  promises 
that  if  he  will  go  forth  and  drive  away  the  foe  he  will 
be  allowed  to  see  Nicolette  and  kiss  her.  The  prospect  of 
such  a  reward  so  fires  the  young  hero,  that  he  sallies  forth, 
routs  the  besiegers,  and,  seizing  the  Count  of  Valence, 
brings  him  back  a  prisoner.  On  entering  the  castle,  he 
immediately  begins  to  clamor  for  Nicolette,  but  his  father 
now  declares  he  would  rather  see  the  maiden  burned  as  a 
witch  than  to  let  his  son  have  anything  more  to  do  with  her. 
Hearing  this,  Aucassin  indignantly  declares  such  being  the 
case  he  will  free  his  prisoner,  an  act  of  generosity  which 
infuriates  his  father,  who  hopes  to  be  enriched  by  the 
count's  ransom.  To  punish  Aucassin,  the  Count  of  Biau- 
caire  now  thrusts  him  into  prison,  but,  although  the  lovers 
are  sharing  the  same  fate,  they  languish  apart,  and,  there- 
fore, spend  all  their  time  lamenting. 

One  night,   when  the  moon  is  shining  bright,   Nico- 


AUCASSm  AND  NICOLETTE  103 

lette,  who  has  heard  she  is  likely  to  be  brought  to  trial 
and  burned,  decides  to  eflEect  her  escape.  As  the  old 
woman  who  mounts  guard  over  her  is  fast  asleep,  she 
softly  ties  together  her  sheets  and  towels,  and,  fastening 
them  to  a  pillar,  lets  herself  down  by  the  window  into  the 
garden,  from  whence  she  timidly  steals  out  into  the  night. 

The  poem  now  artlessly  describes  Nicolette's  beauty  as 
she  trips  over  the  dewy  grass,  her  tremors  as  she  slips 
through  the  postern  gate,  and  her  lingering  at  the  foot  of 
the  tower  where  her  lover  is  imprisoned.  While  pausing 
there,  Nicolette  overhears  his  voice  lamenting,  and,  thrust- 
ing her  head  into  an  aperture  in  the  wall,  tells  him  that 
she  is  about  to  escape  and  that  as  soon  as  she  is  gone  they 
will  set  him  free.  To  convince  her  lover  that  it  is  she  who 
is  talking,  Nicolette  cuts  off  a  golden  curl,  which  she  drops 
down  into  his  dungeon,  repeating  that  she  must  flee.  But 
Aucassin  beseeches  her  not  to  go,  knowing  a  young  maid 
is  exposed  to  countless  dangers  out  in  the  world,  and 
vehemently  declares  he  would  die  were  any  one  to  lay  a 
finger  upon  her.  He  adds  that  she  alone  shall  be  his  wife, 
and  that  the  mere  thought  of  her  belonging  to  any  one  else 
is  unendurable.  This  declaration  of  love  cheers  poor 
Nicolette,  who  is  so  entranced  by  her  lover's  words  that 
she  fails  to  notice  the  approach  of  a  patrol.  A  young 
sentinel,  however,  peering  down  from  the  walls,  touched 
by  Nicolette's  beauty  and  by  the  plight  of  these  young 
lovers,  warns  them  of  their  danger.  But  not  daring  to 
speak  openly  to  Nicolette,  he  chants  a  musical  warning, 
which  comes  just  in  time  to  enable  her  to  hide  behind  a 
pillar.  There  she  cowers  until  the  guards  pass  by,  then, 
sUpping  down  into  the  dry  moat, — although  it  is  a  perilous 
undertaking, — she  painfully  climbs  up  its  other  side  and 
seeks  refuge  in  a  neighboring  forest,  where,  although  the 
poem  informs  us  there  are  "beasts  serpentine,"  she  feels 
safer  than  in  town. 

It  is  while  wandering  in  this  wilderness  that  Nicolette 
runs  across  some  shepherds,  whom  she  bribes  to  go  and  tell 
Aucassin  a  wild  beast  is  ranging  through  the  forest,  and 


104  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

that  he  should  come  and  slay  it  as  soon  as  possible.  Having 
thus  devised  means  to  entice  her  lover  out  of  Biaucaire, 
Nicolette  wanders  on  until  she  reaches  a  lovely  spot,  where 
she  erects  a  rustic  lodge,,  decking  it  with  the  brightest 
flowers  she  can  find,  in  hopes  that  her  lover,  when  weary 
of  hunting,  will  rest  beneath  its  flowery  roof,  and  guess  that 
it  was  erected  by  her  fair  hands. 

Meantime  the  Count  of  Biaucaire,  hearing  Nicolette  has 
vanished,  sets  his  son  free,  and,  seeing  him  sunk  in  melan- 
choly, urges  him  to  go  out  and  hunt,  thinking  the  exercise 
may  make  hiTn  forget  the  loss  of  his  beloved.  Still,  it  is 
only  when  shepherds  come  and  report  that  a  wild  beast  is 
ranging  through  the  forest,  that  the  youth  mounts  his  steed 
and  sallies  forth,  his  father  little  suspecting  that  instead 
of  tracking  game,  he  is  bent  on  seeking  traces  of  his  beloved. 

Ere  long  Aucassin  encounters  an  old  charcoal-burner, 
to  whom  he  confides  his  loss,  and  who  assures  him  such  a 
sorrow  is  nothing  compared  to  his  own.  On  discovering 
that  the  poor  man's  tears  can  be  stayed  with  money, 
Aucassin  bestows  upon  him  the  small  sum  he  needs,  receiv- 
ing in  return  the  information  that  a  lovely  maiden  has  been 
seen  in  the  forest.  Continuiag  his  quest,  Aucassin  comes 
in  due  time  to  the  flowery  bower,  and,  finding  it  empty, 
sings  his  love  and  sorrow  in  tones  that  reach  Nicolette 's 
ear.  Then,  dismounting  from  his  horse  to  rest  here  for  the 
night,  Aucassin  manages  to  sprain  his  shoulder.  Thereupon 
Nicolette  steals  into  the  bower  and  takes  immediate  meas- 
ures to  mitigate  the  pain. 

The  mere  fact  that  Nicolette  is  beside  him  helps 
Aucassin  to  forget  everything  else,  and  it  is  only  after  the 
first  raptures  are  over,  that  they  decide  not  to  linger  in  the 
forest,  where  the  Count  of  Biaucaire  will  soon  find  and 
separate  them.  To  prevent  such  a  calamity,  they  decide  to 
depart  together,  and,  as  there  is  no  extra  steed  for  Nico- 
lette to  ride,  her  lover  lifts  her  up  on  his  horse  before 
him,  clasping  her  tight  and  kissing  her  repeatedly  as  they 
gallop  along. 


AUCASSIN  AND  NICOLETTE  105 

Aucassin  the  Franc;  the  fair, 

Aucassin  of  yellow  hair. 

Gentle  knight,  and  true  lover. 

From  the  forest  doth  he  fare. 

Holds  his  love  before  him  there. 

Kissing  cheek,  and  chin,  arid  eyes; 

But  she  spake  in  sober  wise, 
"Aucassin,  true  love  and  fair. 

To  what  land  do  we  repair?" 
"  Sweet  my  love,  I  take  no  care. 

Thou  art  with  me  everywhere!  " 

So  they  pass  the  woods  and  downs. 

Pass  tiie  villages  and  towns. 

Hills  and  dales  and  open  land. 

Came  at  dawn  to  the  sea  sand. 

Lighted  down  upon  the  strand. 
Beside  the  sea. 

Thus  the  lovers  travel  all  night,  reach  the  sea-shore  at 
dawn,  and  wander  along  it,  arms  twined  around  each  other, 
while  their  weary  steed  follows  them  with  drooped  head. 

At  sunrise  a  vessel  nears  the  shore,  upon  which  they 
embark  to  get  out  of  reach  of  the  wrath  of  the  Count  of 
Biaucaire.  The  vessel,  however,  is  soon  overtaken  by  a 
terrible  tempest,  which,  after  tossing  it  about  for  seven 
days,  drives  it  into  the  harbor  of  Torelore.  This  is  the 
mediaeval  "topsy-turvy  land,"  for  on  entering  the  castle 
Aucassin  learns  that  the  king  is  lying  abed,  because  a  son 
has  been  bom  to  him,  while  the  queen  is  at  the  head  of 
the  army  fighting!  This  state  of  affairs  so  incenses 
Aucassin,  that  armed  with  a  big  stick  he  enters  the  king's 
room,  gives  him  a  good  beating,  and  wrings  from  him  a 
promise  that  no  man  in  his  country  will  ever  lie  abed  again 
when  a  child  is  bom,  or  send  his  wife  out  to  do  hard  work. 
Having  effected  this  reform  in  the  land  of  Torelore,  Aucas- 
sin and  Nicolette  dwell  there  peacefully  for  three  years,  at 
the  end  of  which  time  the  castle  is  taken  by  some  Saracens. 
They  immediately  proceed  to  sack  it,  carrying  off  its  in- 
mates to  sell  them  as  slaves.  Bound  fast,  Aucassin  and 
Nicolette  are  thrust  into  separate  ships,  but,  although  these 
are  going  to  the  same  port,  a  sudden  tempest  drives  the 
vessel  in  which  Aucassin  lies  to  the  shore  of  Biaucaire. 
There  the  people  capture  it,  and  finding  their  young  master, 


106  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

set  liini  free,  and  invite  him  to  take  possession  of  his  castle, 
for,  his  father  having  died  during  his  absence,  he  is  now 
master  of  all  he  surveys. 

Meantime  Nicolette,  landing  at  Carthage,  discovers  that 
this  is  her  native  town,  and  recognizes  in  her  captors — ^her 
father  and  brothers.  They  are  so  overjoyed  at  recovering 
this  long-lost  sister  that  they  propose  to  keep  her  with 
them,  but  Nicolette  assures  them  she  will  never  be  happy 
until  she  rejoins  Aucassin.  Meantime  she  learns  to  play  on 
the  viol,  and,  when  she  has  attained  proficiency  on  this  in- 
strument, sets  out  in  the  guise  of  a  wandering  minstrel  to 
seek  her  beloved.  Conveyed  by  her  brothers  to  the  land 
of  Biaucaire,  Nicolette,  soon  after  landing,  hears  that 
Aucassin,  who  has  recently  returned,  is  sorely  bewailing 
the  loss  of  his  beloved.  Presenting  herself  before  Aucassin, 
— ^who  does  not  recognize  her  owing  to  the  disguise, — 
Nicolette  plays  so  charmingly  that  she  draws  tears  from  his 
eyes.  Then  she  begs  to  know  his  sorrows,  and,  on  hearing 
he  has  lost  his  lady-love,  suggests  he  woo  the  king  of 
Carthage's  daughter.  Loudly  averring  he  will  never  woo 
any  one  save  Nicolette,  Aucassin  turns  sadly  away,  where- 
upon the  strolling  minstrel  assures  him  he  shall  see  his  be- 
loved before  long.  Although  it  seems  impossible  to  Aucas- 
sin that  this  prediction  should  be  verified,  Nicolette  has 
little  difficulty  in  fulfiilling  her  promise,  for,  hastening  back 
to  her  old  home,  she  obtains  some  of  her  own  clothes,  and, 
thus  restored  to  her  wonted  appearance,  presents  herself 
before  the  delighted  Aucassin,  who,  overjoyed  to  see  her 
once  more,  clasps  her  rapturously  to  his  heart. 

The  baUad  adds  that  the  two  lovers,  iinited  for  good  and 
all,  lived  happy  ever  after,  and  were  an  example  to  all 
faithful  lovers  in  the  beautiful  land  of  Biaucaire. 

Many  years  abode  they  there, 
Many  years  in  shade  or  sun, 
In  great  gladness  and  delight. 
Ne'er  had  Aucassin  regret, 
Nor  his  lady  Nicolette. 
Now  my  story  all  is  done — 
Said  and  sung! 


SPANISH  EPICS 

LiTEBATxmE  was  bom  in  Spain  only  when  the  Christians 
began  to  reconquer  their  country  from  the  Moors.  The 
first  literary  efforts  therefore  naturally  reflected  a  warlike 
spirit,  and  thus  assumed  the  epic  form.  Very  few  of  these 
poems  still  exist  in  their  original  shape  save  the  Poema  del 
Cid,  the  great  epio  treasure  of  Spain,  as  well  as  the  oldest 
monument  of  Spanish  literature.  Besides  this  poem,  there 
exist  fragments  of  epics  on  the  Infantes  of  Lara  and  on 
Feman  Gonzales,  and  hints  of  others  of  which  no  traces 
now  remain.  These  poems  were  popularized  in  Spain  by 
the  juglares,  who  invented  Bernardo  del  Carpio  so  as  to 
have  a  hero  worthy  to  off-set  to  the  Roland  of  the  jongleurs, 
— ^their  French  neighbors.  But  the  poems  about  this  hero 
have  all  perished,  and  his  fame  is  preserved  only  in  the 
prose  chronicles.  In  the  Cronica  rimada  of  the  thirteenth 
century,  we  discover  an  account  of  the  Cid's  youth,  together 
witTi  the  episode  where  he  slays  Ximena's  father,  which 
supplied  Comeille  vrith  the  main  theme  of  his  tragedy. 

The  Spaniards  also  boast  of  a  thirteenth  century  poem 
of  some  twenty-five  hundred  stanzas  on  the  life  of 
Alexander,  a  fourteenth  century  romance  about  Tristan, 
and  the  chivalric  romance  of  Amadis  de  Gaule,  which  set 
the  fashion  for  hosts  of  similar  works,  whose  popularity 
had  already  begun  to  wane  when  Cervantes  scotched  all 
further  attempts  of  this  sort 'by  turning  the  chivalric  ro- 
mance into  ridicule  in  his  Don  Quixote. 

The  Spaniards  also  cultivated  the  epic  ballad,  or  ro- 
maneeros,  previous  to  the  Golden  Age  of  their  literature 
(1550-1700),  drawing  their  subjects  from  the  history  or 
legends  of  France  and  Spain,  and  treating  mainly  of  ques- 
tions of  chivalry  and  love.  Arthur,  the  Bound  Table,  and 
the  Quest  for  the  Holy  Grail,  were  their  stock  subjects, 
previous  to  the  appearance  of  Amadis  de  Gaule,  a  work  of 
original  fiction  remodelled  and  extended  in  the  fifteenth 

107 


108  THE  BOOK  OP  THE  EPIC 

century  by  Garcia  Ordonez  de  Montalvo.  During  the 
Golden  Age,  Spain  boasts  more  than  two  hundred  artificial 
epics,  treating  of  religious,  political,  and  historical  matters. 
Among  these  the  Auracana  of  Erzilla,  the  Argentina  of 
Centenera,  and  the  Austriada  of  Rufo  can  be  mentioned. 
Then  Velasco  revived  the  Aeneid  for  his  countrymen's 
benefit,  and  religious  themes  such  as  Azevedo's  Creacion  del 
Munde  became  popular. 

The  latest  of  the  Spanish  epics  is  that  of  Saavedra, 
who,  in  his  El  Moro  Exposito,  has  cleverly  revived  the  old 
Spanish  legend  of  the  Infantes  of  Lara.  It  is,  however,  the 
Cid  which  is  always  quoted  as  Spain's  representative  epic. 

THE  CID 

This  poem,  of  some  three  thousand  seven  hundred  lines, 
is  divided  into  two  cantos,  and  was  written  about  1200. 
It  is  a  compilation  from  extant  ballads  in  regard  to  the 
great  Spanish  hero  Rodrigo  Diaz  de  Bivar,  bom  between 
1030  and  1040,  whose  heroic  deeds  were  performed  at  the 
time  when  the  Christian  kings  were  making  special  efforts 
to  eject  the  Moors,  who  had  invaded  Spain  three  hundred 
years  before. 

The  first  feat  mentioned  relates  that  Rodrigo 's  father, 
having  been  insulted  by  Don  Gomez,  pined  at  the  thought 
of  leaving  this  afifront  unavenged,  until  his  son,  who  had 
never  fought  before,  volunteered  to  defend  him.  Not  only 
did  Rodrigo  challenge  and  slay  Don  Gomez,  but  cutting  off 
his  head  bore  it  to  his  father  as  a  proof  that  his  enemy  was 
dead,  a  feat  which  so  pleased  the  old  gentleman  that  he 
declared  Rodrigo  should  henceforth  be  head  of  the  family. 

After  thus  signalizing  himself,  Rodrigo  was  suddenly 
called  upon  to  'face  five  Moorish  kings  who  had  been  making 
sallies  into  Castile.  Not  only  did  he  defeat  them,  but  took 
them  prisoners,  thereby  winning  from  them  the  title  by 
which  he  is  commonly  known,  of  "The  Cid"  or ' ' The  Lord. " 

Shortly  after  this  Donna  Ximena,  daughter  of  Don 
Gomez,  appeared  before  King  Ferrando  demanding  satia- 


THE  CID  109 

faction  for  her  father's  death,  and  consenting  to  forego 
revenge  only  on  condition  that  Rodrigo  would  marry  her. 
The  young  hero  having  assented,  the  couple  were  united  in 
the  presence  of  the  king,  after  which  Rodrigo  took  his  beau- 
tiful bride  to  his  mother,  with  whom  he  left  her  until  he 
had  earned  the  right  to  claim  her  by  distinguishing  himself 
in  some  way. 

It  seems  that  Ferrando  of  Castile  was  then  disputing 
from  the  king  of  Aragon-  the  possession  of  Calahorra,  a 
frontier  town.  Both  monarchs  decided  to  settle  their  dif- 
ference by  a  duel,  stipulating  that  the  town  should  belong 
to  the  party  whose  champion  triumphed. 

Ferrando  having  selected  Rodrigo  as  his  champion,  our 
hero  set  out  to  meet  his  opponent,  delaying  on  the  way 
long  enough  to  rescue  a  leper  from  a  bog.  Then,  placing 
this  unfortunate  on  his  horse  before  him,  Rodrigo  bore  him 
to  an  inn,  where,  in  spite  of  the  remonstrances  of  his  fol- 
lowers, he  allowed  the  leper  to  share  his  bed  and  board. 
That  night,  while  lying  beside  his  loathsome  bed-fellow, 
Rodrigo  suddenly  felt  a  cold  breath  pass  through  him,  and, 
on  investigating,  discovered  that  his  companion  was  gone. 
He  beheld  in  his  stead  St.  Lazarus,  who  proclaimed  that, 
since  Rodrigo  had  been  so  charitable,  he  would  meet  with 
prosperity,  and  might  know  whenever  he  felt  a  cold  shiver 
run  down  his  spine  that  it  was  an  omen  of  success.  Thus 
encouraged,  Rodrigo  rode  on  to  take  part  in  the  duel,  but 
he  had  been  so  delayed  that  the  battle  caU  had  already 
sounded,  and  Alvar  Fanez,  his  cousin,  was  preparing  to 
fight  in  his  stead.  Bidding  his  cousin  step  aside,  Rodrigo 
entered  the  lists,  and  soon  won  Oalahorra  for  Ferrando. 

Pleased  with  what  Rodrigo  had  done,  the  king  now 
showered  honors  upon  him,  which  so  aroused  the  jealousy 
of  the  courtiers  that  they  began  to  conspire  with  the  Moors 
to  ruin  him.  It  happened,  however,  that  they  addressed 
their  first  proposals  to  the  very  kings  whom  Rodrigo  hadi 
conquered,  and  who  proved  loyal  enough  to  send  him  word 
of  the  plot.  On  discovering  the  treachery  of  the  courtiers, 
the  king  banished  them,  but  tiie  wife  of  Don  Garcia  pleaded 


110  THE  BOOK  OP  THE  EPIC 

so  eloquently  with  the  Cid,  that  he  furnished  the  banished 
man  with  letters  of  introduction  to  one  of  the  Moorish  kings, 
who,  to  please  his  conqueror,  bestowed  the  city  of  Cabra 
upon  him. 

Although  treated  with  such  generosity,   Don  Garcia 
proved  ungrateful,   and  even  tried  to  cheat  the  Moors. 
Hearing  this,  the  Cid,  sidrag  with  his  former  enemies,' 
came  into  their  country  to  take  away  from  Don  Garcia  the 
city  which  had  been  allotted  for  his  use. 

During  one  of  Ferrando's  absences  from  home,  the  Moors 
invaded  one  of  his  provinces,  whereupon  Rodrigo,  in  re- 
taliation, besieged  the  city  of  Coimbra.  "While  he  was  thus 
engaged  his  army  suffered  so  much  from  lack  of  provisions 
that  it  finally  seemed  as  if  he  would  have  to  give  up  his 
undertaking.  But  the  monks,  who  had  advised  the  Cid  to 
besiege  the  city,  now  came  to  his  rescue,  and  by  feeding  his 
army  from  their  own  stores  enabled  Rodrigo  to  recover 
another  town  from  the  pagans. 

Delighted  with  this  new  accession  of  territory,  Ferrando 
knighted  Rodrigo,  who  meantime  had  added  to  his  title  of 
the  Cid  that  of  Campeador,  "the  champion,"  and  here- 
after was  often  mentioned  as  "the  one  bom  in  a  fortunate 
hour."  In  addition,  the  king  bestowed  upon  Rodrigo  the 
governorship  of  the  cities  of  Coimbra  and  Zamorra,  which 
were  to  be  reoccupied  by  Christians. 

Shortly  after  this,  the  Pope  demanded  that  Ferrando 
do  homage  to  the  empire,  but  the  king  rejoined  that  Spain 
was  independent  and  therefore  refused  to  obey.  Hearing 
that  large  forces  were  marching  against  him  to  compel  him 
to  submit,  Ferrando  placed  the  Cid  at  the  head  of  an  army, 
and  our  hero  not  only  defeated  the  enemy  at  Tobosa,  but 
won  so  brilliant  a  victory  that  the  Pope  never  ventured  to 
renew  his  demands. 

Feeling  death  draw  near,  Ferrando  divided  his  realm 
between  his  sons,  who  became  kings  of  Castile,  Leon,  and 
Gallicia,  and  bestowed  upon  his  daughters  the  cities  of 
Zamorra  and  Toro.  Although  disappointed  not  to  inherit 
the  whole  realm,  the  eldest  prince,  Don  Sancho,  dared  not 


THE  CID  111 

oppose  his  father's  will,  until  one  of  his  brothers  proceeded 
to  dispossess  one  of  their  sisters.  Under  the  plea  that  the 
promise  made  to  their  father  had  already  been  broken,  Don 
Sancho  now  set  out  to  conquer  the  whole  realm,  but  proved 
so  unfortunate  in  his  first  battle  as  to  fall  into  Ids  brother's 
hands.  There  he  would  have  remained  for  the  rest  of 
his  life,  had  not  the  Cid  delivered  him,  taken  his  captor, 
and  confiscated  his  realm  in  Saneho's  behalf.  Hearing 
this,  the  third  king,  Alfonso,  clamored  for  his  share  of  his 
brother's  spoil,  and,  as  none  was  allotted  him,  declared  war 
in  his  turn.  In  this  campaign  Sancho  proved  victorious 
only  when  the  Cid  fought  in  his  behalf,  and  the  struggle 
resulted  in  the  imprisonment  of  Alfonso,  who  would  have 
been  slain  had  not  his  sister  asked  that  he  be  allowed  to 
enter  a  monastery.  From  there  Alfonso  soon  effected  his 
escape,  and  hastened  to  seek  refuge  among  the  Moors  at 
Toledo. 

Don  Sancho,  having  meantime  assumed  all  three  croTvns, 
became  anxious  to  dispossess  his  sister  of  Zamorra.  But 
the  Cid  refused  to  take  part  in  so  unchivalrous  a  deed, 
and  thereby  so  angered  the  king  that  he  vowed  he  would 
exile  him.  When  the  Cid  promptly  rejoined  that  in  that 
case  he  would  hasten  to  Toledo  and  offer  his  services  to 
Alfonso  to  help  him  recover  all  he  had  lost,  Sancho  re- 
pented and  apologized.  He  did  not,  however,  relinquish 
his  project  of  despoiling  his  sister  of  Zamorra,  but  merely 
dispensed  the  Cid  from  accompanying  him. 

Because  Zamorra  was  well  defended  by  Vellido  Dolfos, 
— ^the  princess'  captain, — King  Sancho  was  not  able  to  take 
it.  He  so  sorely  beset  the  inhabitants,  however,  that  Vellido 
Dolfos  resolved  to  get  the  better  of  him  by  strategy.  Feign- 
ing to  be  driven  out  of  the  city,  he  secretly  joined  Don 
Sancho,  and  offered  to  deliver  the  city  into  his  hands  if  the 
king  would  only  accompany  him  to  a  side  gate.  Notwith- 
standing adverse  omens,  the  credulous  Sancho,  believing 
him,  rode  off,  only  to  meet  his  death  at  the  postern  gate,  in- 
side of  which  his  murderer  immediately  took  refuge. 

On  learning  that  his  master  has  been  slain,  the  Cid 


112  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

hastened  to  avenge  him,  and,  as  Sancho  had  left  no  heir, 
proclaimed  Alfonso  his  successor.  We  are  told  that  this 
young  prince  had  already  heard  of  his  brother's  death 
through  a  message  from  his  sister,  and,  fearing  the  Moors 
would  not.  allow  him  to  depart  for  good,  had  merely  asked 
permission  to  visit  his  kin.  The  wary  Moorish  king  con- 
sented, but  only  on  condition  Alfonso  would  promise  never 
to  attack  him  or  his  sons,  should  he  become  king. 

When  Alfonso  arrived  at  Zamorra,  all  the  Spaniards 
readily  did  homage  to  him  save  the  Cid,  who  refused  to 
have  anything  to  do  with  him  until  he  had  solemnly  sworn 
he  had  no  share  in  his  brother's  death.  To  satisfy  the 
Cid,  therefore,  Alfonso  and  twelve  of  his  men  took  a  three- 
fold oath  in  the  churcL  of  Burgos ;  but  it  is  said  Alfonso 
never  forgave  the  humiliation  which  the  Cid  thus  inflicted 
upon  him. 

The  new  monarch  proved  to  be  a  wise  ruler  for  the 
kingdoms  of  Leon,  Castile,  GaUicia,  and  Portugal.  He  was 
not  without  his  troubles,  however,  for  shortly  after  his 
succession  the  Cid  quarrelled  with  one  of  his  nobles.  Next 
the  Moorish  kings  became  disunited  and  Alfonso's  former 
host  summoned  him  to  his  aid.  Not  only  did  Alfonso  assist 
this  king  of  Toledo,  but  invited  him  into  his  camp,  where 
he  forced  him  to  release  him  from  the  promise  made  on 
leaving  his  city.  Not  daring  to  refuse  while  in  the  power 
of  the  Christians,  the  Moorish  king  reluctantly  consented, 
and  was  surprised  and  delighted  to  hear  Alfonso  immedi- 
ately renew  the  oath,  for,  while  not  willing  to  be  friends 
with  the  Moors  under  compulsion,  he  had  no  objection  to 
enter  into  an  alliance  with  them  of  his  own  free  wiU. 

Not  long  after  this  the  king  of  Navarre  sent  forth  his 
champion  to  challenge  one  of  Alfonso's,  the  stake  this  time 
being  three  castles  which  the  Cid  won.  But  the  Moors,  tak- 
ing advantage  of  the  Cid's  illness  which  followed  this 
battle,  rose  up  against  Alfonso,  who  was  compelled  to 
wage  war  against  them.  In  this  campaign  he  would  have 
fallen  into  the  enemy's  hands  had  not  the  Cid  risen  from 
hia  sick-bed  to  extricate  him  from  peril! 


THE  CID  113 

By  this  time  the  renown  of  the  Cid  was  so  great,  that 
people  in  speaking  of  him  invariably  termed  him  "the 
Perfect  One,"  thereby  arousing  such  jealousy  among  the 
courtiers,  that  they  persuaded  Alfonso  his  subject  was  try- 
ing to  outshine  him !  In  anger  the  king  decreed  Rodrigo  's 
immediate  banishment,  and,  instead  of  allowing  him  the 
customary  thirty  days  to  prepare  for  departure,  threatened 
to  put  him  to  death  were  he  found  within  the  land  nine 
days  later!  As  soon  as  the  Cid  informed  his  friends  he 
was  banished,  one  and  all  promised  to  follow  wherever  he 
went,  as  did  his  devoted  cousin  Alvar  Fanez. 

It  is  at  this  point  that  the  present  poem  of  the  Cid 
begins,  for  the  ballads  covering  the  foregoing  part  of  the 
Cid's  life  exist  only  in  a  fragmentary  state.  We  are  told 
that  the  decree  of  banishment  proved  a  signal  for  the 
courtiers  to  plunder  the  hero's  house,  and  that  the  Cid 
gazing  sadly  upon  its  miins  exclaimed,  "My  enemies  have 
done  this !"  Then,  seeing  a  poor  woman  stand  by,  he  bade 
her  secure  her  share,  adding  that  for  his  part  he  would 
henceforth  live  by  pillaging  the  Moors,  but  that  the  day 
would  come  when  he  would  return  home  laden  with  honors. 

On  his  way  to  Burgos  the  Cid  was  somewhat  cheered 
by  good  omens,  and  was  joined  by  so  many  knights  in 
quest  of  adventure  that  no  less  than  sixty  banners  fluttered 
behind  him.  A  royal  messenger  had,  however,  preceded 
him  to  this  city,  to  forbid  the  people  to  show  him  hospitality 
and  to  close  his  own  house  against  him.  The  only  person 
who  dared  inform  the  Cid  of  this  fact  was  a  little  maid, 
who  tremblingly  reported  that  he  was  to  be  debarred  from 
all  assistance. 

"  0  thou  that  in  a  happy  hour  didst  gird  thee  with  the  sword. 
It  is  the  order  of  the  king;  we  dare  not,  O  my  lord! 
Sealed  with  his  royal  seal  hath  come  his  letter  to  forbid 
The  Burgos  folk  to  open  door,  or  shelter  thee,  my  Cid. 
Our  goods,  our  homes,  our  very  eyes,  in  this  are  all  at  stake; 
And  small  the  gain  to  thee,  though  we  meet  ruin  for  thy  sake. 
Go,  and  God  prosper  thee  in  all  that  thou  dost  undertake."  * 

•All  the  quotations  in  this  chapter  are  taken  from  translation 
of  "  The  Cid  "  by  Onnsby. 

S 


114  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Pausing  at  the  church  only  long  enough  to  say  a  prayer, 
the  Cid  rode  out  of  the  gates  of  Burgos  and  camped  on  a 
neighboring  hill,  where  his  nephew  Martin  Antolinez 
brought  him  bread  and  wine,  declaring  he  would  hence- 
forth share  the  Cid's  fortunes  in  defiance  of  the  king.  It 
was  to  this  relative  that  the  Cid  confided  the  fact  that  he 
was  without  funds  and  must  raise  enough  money  to  defray 
present  expenses.  Putting  their  heads  together,  these  two 
then  decided  to  fill  two  huge  chests  with  sand,  and  offer 
them  to  a  couple  of  Jews  in  Burgos  for  six  hundred  marks, 
stating  the  chests  contained  treasures  too  heavy  and  valu- 
able to  be  taken  into  exile,  and  assuring  them  that,  if  they 
solemnly  pledged  themselves  not  to  open  the  chests  for  a 
year,  they  could  then  claim  them,  provided  the  Cid  had 
not  redeemed  them  in  the  meanwhile.  Trusting  to  the  Cid's 
word  and  hoping  to  enrich  themselves  by  this  transaction, 
the  Jews  gladly  lent  the  six  hundred  marks  and  bore  away 
the  heavy  chests. 

Having  thus  secured  the  required  supplies,  the  Cid 
proceeded  to  San  Pedro  de  Cardena,  where  he  entrusted 
his  wife  Ximena  and  two  daughters  to  the  care  of  the 
prior,  leaving  behind  him  funds  enough  to  defray  all  their 
expenses.  Then,  although  parting  with  his  family  was  as 
hard  as  "when  a  finger-nail  is  torn  from  the  flesh,"  the 
Cid  rode  away,  crossing  the  frontier  just  as  the  nine  days 
ended.  He  was  there  greatly  cheered  by  a  vision  of  the 
angel  Gabriel,  who  assured  him  all  would  be  well  with  him. 

The  prayer  was  said,  the  mass  was  sung,  they  mounted  to  depart; 
My  Cid  a  moment  stayed  to  press  Ximena  to  his  heart: 
Ximena  kissed  his  hand,  as  one  distraught  with  grief  was  she: 
He  looked  upon  his  daughters:  "These  to  God  I  leave,"  said  he; 
"Unto  our  lady  and  to  God,  Father  of  all  below; 
He  knows  if  we  shall  meet  again: — and  now,  sirs,  let  us  go." 

As  when  the  finger-nail  from  out  the  flesh  is  torn  away, 
Even  so  sharp  to  him  and  them  the  parting  pang  that  day. 
Then  to  his  saddle  sprang  my  Cid,  and  forth  his  vassals  led; 
But  ever  as  he  rode,  to  those  behind  he  turned  his  head. 

Entering  the  land  of  the  Moors  with  a  force  of  three 
hundred  men,  the  Cid  immediately  proceeded  to  take  a 


THE  CID  115 

castle  and  to  besiege  the  city  of  Alcocer.  But  this  town 
resisted  so  bravely,  that  after  fifteen  weeks  the  Cid  decided 
to  eflfect  by  strategy  the  entrance  denied  by  force.  Feign- 
ing discouragement,  he,  therefore,  left  his  camp,  whereupon 
the  inhabitants  immediately  poured  out  of  the  city  to  visit 
it,  leaving  the  gates  wide  open  behind  them.  The  Cid,  who 
was  merely  hiding  near  by,  now  cleverly  cut  off  their  retreat 
and  thus  entered  Alcocer  through  wide-open  gates. 

No  sooner  did  the  Moors  learn  that  the  Cid  had  con- 
quered this  important  place,  than  they  hastened  to  besiege 
it,  cutting  off  the  water  supply,  to  compel  the  Christifins 
to  come  out.  To  prevent  his  men  from  perishing  of  thirst, 
the  Cid  made  so  vigorous  a  sortie  that  he  not  only  drove 
the  enemy  away,  but  captured  their  baggage,  thus  winning 
so  much  booty  that  he  was  able  to  send  thirty  caparisoned 
steeds  to  Alfonso,  as  well  as  rich  gifts  in  money  to  his  wife. 
In  return,  the  bearer  of  these  welcome  tokens  was  informed 
by  King  Alfonso  that  Eodrigo  would  shortly  be  pardoned 
and  recalled. 

Meanwhile  the  Cid,  leaving  Alcocer,  had  taken  up  his 
abode  on  the  hill  near  Medina,  which  still  bears  his  name. 
Thence  he  proceeded  to  the  forest  of  Tebar,  where  he  again 
fought  so  successfully  against  the  Moors  that  he  compelled 
the  city  of  Saragossa  to  pay  tribute  to  him.  Rumors  of 
these  triumphs  enticed  hundreds  of  Castilian  knights  to 
join  him,  and  with  their  aid  he  outwitted  all  the  attempts 
the  Moors  made  to  regain  their  lost  possessions.  "We  are 
also  told  that  in  one  of  these  battles  the  Cid  took  prisoner 
Don  Eamon,  who  refused  to  eat  until  free.  Seeing  this, 
the  Cid  took  his  sword,  Colada,  and  promised  to  set  him 
and  his  kinsmen  free  if  they  would  only  eat  enough  to 
have  strength  to  depart.  Although  doubtful  whether  this 
promise  would  be  kept,  Don  Ramon  and  his  follows  par- 
took of  food  and  rode  away,  constantly  turning  their  heads 
to  make  sure  that  they  were  not  pursued. 

He  spurred  his  steed,  but,  as  he  rode,  a  backward  glance  he  bent, 
Still  fearing  to  the  last  my  Cid  his  promise  would  repent: 
A  thing,  the  world  itself  to  win,  my  Cid  would  not  have  done: 
No  perfidy  was  ever  found  in  him,  the  Perfect  One. 


116  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

As  some  of  his  subjects  were  sorely  persecuted  by  the 
Moors,  Alfonso  now  sent  word  to  the  Cid  to  punish  them, 
a  task  the  hero  promised  to  perform,  provided  the  king 
would  pledge  himself  never  again  to  banish  a  man  with- 
out giving  him  thirty  days'  notice,  and  to  make  sundry 
other  wise  reforms  in  his  laws.  Having  thus  secured  in- 
estimable boons  for  his  fellow-countrymen,  the  Cid  pro- 
ceeded to  besiege  sundry  Moorish  castles,  all  of  which  he 
took,  winning  thereby  much  booty.  Having  thus  served 
his  monarch,  the  Cid  was  recalled  in  triumph  to  Castile, 
where  he  was  told  to  keep  all  he  had  won  from  the  Moors. 
In  return  the  Cid  helped  Alfonso  to  secure  Toledo,  seeing 
the  king  with  whom  this  king  had  sworn  alliance  was  now 
dead.  It  was  while  the  siege  of  this  city  was  taking  place 
that  Bishop  Jerome  was  favored  by  a  vision  of  St.  Isidro, 
who  predicted  they  would  take  the  city,  a  promise  verified 
in  1085,  when  the  Cid's  was  the  first  Christian  banner  to 
float  above  its  walls.  Our  hero  now  became  governor  of 
this  town,  but,  although  he  continued  to  wage  war  against 
the  Moors,  his  successes  had  made  the  courtiers  so  jealous 
that  they  induced  the  king  to  imprison  Ximena  and  her 
daughters. 

Perceiving  he  was  no  longer  in  favor  at  court,  the  Cid 
haughtily  withdrew,  and,  when  Alfonso  came  down  into 
Valencia,  demanding  that  the  cities  which  had  hitherto  paid 
tribute  to  his  subject  should  now  do  so  to  him,  the  Cid 
retaliated  by  invading  Alfcmso's  reabn.  None  of  the 
courtiers  daring  to  oppose  him,  Alfonso  had  cause  bitterly 
to  repent  of  what  he  had  done,  and  humbly  assured  his 
powerful  subject  he  would  never  molest  him  again.  Ever 
ready  to  forgive  an  ungrateful  master,  the  Cid  withdrew, 
and  for  a  time  king  and  subject  lived  in  peace. 

Although  the  Cid  had  permitted  the  Moors  to  remain  in 
the  cities  he  had  conquered,  they  proved  rather  restive 
under  the  Christian  yoke,  and  guided  by  Abeniaf  finally 
told  the  Moors  in  Northern  Africa  that  if  they  would  only 
cross  the  sea  they  would  deliver  Valencia  into  their  hands. 
But  this  conspiracy  soon  became  known  to  the  Moors  who 


THE  CID  117 

favored  the  Cid,  and  they  immediately  notified  him,  hold- 
ing their  town  which  was  ia  dire  peril  for  twelve  days. 

To  keep  his  promise,  Abeniaf  finally  hauled  some  of 
the  Moors  up  over  the  walls  by  means  of  ropes,  and  the 
presence  of  these  foes  in  their  midst  compelled  the  Moors 
who  favored  the  Cid  to  leave  the  city  ia  disguise,  thus 
allowing  Abeniaf  and  his  allies  to  plunder  right  and  left 
and  even  to  murder  the  Moorish  king.  This  done,  Abeniaf 
himself  assumed  the  regal  authority,  and  began  to  govern 
the  city  in  such  an  arbitrary  way  that  he  soon  managed  to 
offend  even  his  own  friends. 

Meantime  the  Moors  who  had  fled  rejoined  the  Cid,  and, 
when  they  reported  what  had  occurred,  Rodrigo  wrote  to 
Abeniaf,  reproaching  him  for  his  treachery  and  demanding 
the  surrender  of  the  property  he  had  left  in  town.  Because 
Abeniaf  replied  that  his  allies  had  taken  possession  of  it, 
the  Cid  termed  him  a  traitor  and  swore  he  would  secure 
revenge.  Thereupon  our  hero  set  out  with  an  army,  and, 
finding  himself  unable  to  take  the  city  by  assault,  began 
to  besiege  it;  pulling  down  the  houses  in  the  suburbs  to 
secure  necessary  materials  to  construct  his  camp.  Then 
he  began  a  systematic  attack  on  the  city,  mastering  one  of 
its  defences  after  another,  and  carrying  on  the  siege  with 
such  vigor  that  he  thereby  won  additional  glory.  All  the 
M.oorish  captives  taken  were  sent  out  through  his  lines  into 
the  open  country,  where  they  were  invited  to  pursue  their 
agricultural  avocations,  and  assured  protection,  provided 
they  would  pay  tribute  of  one-tenth  of  the  produce  of 
their  lands. 

Meantime  the  people  in  the  besieged  city  suffered  so 
sorely  from  hunger,  that  they  finally  sent  word  they  would 
treat  with  the  Cid  if  he  would  allow  Abeniaf  and  his  fol- 
lowers to  leave  the  country  unharmed.  The  Cid  having 
consented  to  this  proposal,  the  invading  Moors  withdrew 
to  Morocco,  whence,  however,  they  soon  returned  in  in- 
creased numbers  to  recapture  Valencia  and  take  their  re- 
venge upon  Abeniaf,  who  had  proved  treacherous  to  them 
too.     To  check  the  advance  of  this  foe,  the  Cid  flooded 


118  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

the  country  by  opening  the  sluices  in  the  irrigation  canals, 
and  the  invaders,  fancying  themselves  in  danger  of  drown- 
ing, beat  a  hasty  retreat.  Because  Abeniaf  took  advantage 
of  these  circumstances  to  turn  traitor  again,  the  Cid  be- 
sieged him  in  Valencia  for  nine  months,  during  which  the 
famine  became  so  intense  that  the  inhabitants  resorted  to 
all  manner  of  expedients  to  satisfy  their  hunger. 

Throughout  this  campaign  the  Cid  ate  his  meals  in  pub- 
lic, sitting  by  himself  at  a  highr  table  and  assigning  the 
one  next  him  to  the  warriors  whcJ  won  the  most  distinction 
in  battle.  This  table  was  headed  by  Alvar  Fanez,  sur- 
rounded by  the  most  famous  knights.  A  notorious  coward, 
pretending  to  have  done  great  deeds,  advanced  one  day  to 
claim  a  seat  among  the  heroes.  Perceiving  his  intention, 
the  Cid  called  him  to  come  and  sit  with  him,  whereupon 
the  knight  became  so  elated  that  when  he  again  found 
himself  on  the  field  of  battle  he  actually  did  wonders !  Seeing 
his  efforts,  the  Cid  generously  encouraged  him  and,  after 
he  had  shown  himself  brave  indeed,  publicly  bade  him  sit 
with  the  distinguished  knights. 

The  city  of  Valencia  having  finally  opened  its  gates, 
the  Cid  marched  in  with  a  train  of  provision-wagons,  for 
he  longed  to  relieve  the  starving.  Then,  sending  for  the 
principal  magistrates,  he  expressed  commiseration  for  their 
sufferings,  adding  that  he  would  treat  the  people  fairly, 
provided  they  proved  loyal  in  their  turn.  But,  instead  of 
occupying  the  city  itself,  he  and  the  Christians  returned 
to  the  suburbs,  enjoining  upon  the  Moorish  governor  to 
maintain  order  among  his  people,  and  slay  none  but 
Abeniaf,  who  had  proved  traitor  to  all. 

Soon  after,  seeing  that  the  Moors  and  Christians  would 
never  be  able  to  live  in  peace  within  the  same  enclosure,  the 
Cid  appointed  another  place  of  abode  for  the  Moors.  Then 
he  and  his  followers  marched  into  Valencia,  which  they 
proceeded  to  hold,  in  spite  of  sundry  attempts  on  the  part 
of  the  Moors  to  recover  possession  of  so  important  a  strong- 
hold. 

When  the  Moorish  king  of  Seville  ventured  to  attack 


THE  CID  119 

the  Cid,  he  and  his  thirty  thousand  men  experienced  defeat 
and  many  of  his  force  were  drowned  in  the  river  while  try- 
ing to  escape.  Such  was  the  amount  of  spoil  obtained  in 
this  and  other  battles,  that  the  Cid  was  able  to  make  his 
soldiers  rich  beyond  their  dreams,  although  by  this  time  he 
had  a  very  large  force,  for  new  recruits  constantly  joined 
him  during  his  wars  with  the  Moors. 

As  the  Cid  had  vowed"  on  leaving  home  never  to  cut  his 
beard  until  recalled,  he  was  now  a  most  venerable-looking 
man,  with  a  beard  of  such  length  that  it  had  to  be  bound  out 
of  his  way  by  silken  cords  whenever  he  wanted  to  fight. 
Among  those  who  now  fought  in  the  Cid's  ranks  was 
Hieronymo  (Jerome),  who  became  bishop  of  Valencia,  and 
who,  in  his  anxiety  to  restore  the  whole  land  to  Christian 
rule,  fought  by  the  Cid's  side,  and  invariably  advised  him 
to  transform  all  captured  mosques  into  Christian  churches. 

But  lo!  all  armed  from  head  to  heel  the  Bishop  Jerome  shows; 
He  ever  brings  good  fortune  to  my  Cid  where'er  he  goes. 
"Mass  have  I  said,  and  now  I  come  to  join  you  in  the  fray; 
To  strike  a  blow  against  the  Moor  in  battle  if  I  may, 
And  in  the  field  win  honor  for  my  order  and  my  hand. 
It  is  for  this  that  I  am  here,  far  from  my  native  land. 
Unto  Valencia  did  I  come  to  cast  my  lot  with  you, 
All  for  the  longing  that  I  had  to  slay  a  Moor  or  two. 
And  so,  in  warlike  guise  I  come,  with  blazoned  shield,  and  lance. 
That  I  may  flesh  my  blade  to-day,  if  God  but  give  the  chance. 
Then  send  me  to  the  front  to  do  the  bidding  of  my  heart: 
Grant  me  this  favor  that  I  ask,  or  else,  my  Cid,  we  part!  " 

Now  that  he  had  a  fixed  abiding  place,  the  Cid  bade 
Alvar  Panez  and  Martin  Antolinoz  carry  a  rich  present  to 
Don  Alfonso,  and  obtain  his  permission  to  bring  his  wife 
and  daughters  to  Valencia.  The  same  messengers  were  also 
laden  with  a  reward  for  the  Abbot  of  St.  Pedro,  under 
whose  protection  the  Cid's  family  had  taken  refuge,  and 
with  funds  to  redeem  the  chests  of  sand  from  the  Jews  at 
Burgos,  begging  their  pardon  for  the  deception  practised 
upon  them  and  allowing  them  higher  interest  than  they 
could  ever  have  claimed.  Not  only  did  the  messengers  gal- 
lantly acquit  themselves  of  this  embassy,  but  boasted  every- 


120  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

where  of  the  five  pitched  battles  the  Cid  had  won  and  of 
the  eight  towns  now  under  his  sway. 

On  learning  that  the  Cid  had  conquered  Valencia, 
Alfonso  expressed  keen  delight,  although  his  jealous  cour- 
tiers did  not  hesitate  to  murmur  they  could  have  done  as 
well!  The  monarch  also  granted  permission  to  Donna 
Ximena  and  her  daughters  to  join  the  Cid,  and  the  three 
ladies  set  out  with  their  escorts  for  Valencia.  Nine  miles 
outside  this  city,  the  Cid  met  them,  mounted  on  his  steed 
Bavieca,  which  he  had  won  from  the  Moors,  and,  joyfully 
embracing  wife  and  daughters,  welcomed  them  to  Valencia, 
where  from  the  top  of  the  Alcazar  he  bade  them  view  the 
fertile  country  which  paid  tribute  to  him. 

But,  three  months  after  the  ladies'  arrival,  fifty  thou- 
sand Moors  crossed  over  from  Africa  to  recover  their  lost 
territoiy.  Hearing  this,  the  Cid  immediately  laid  in  a  stock 
of  provisions,  renewed  his  supplies  of  ammunition,  and  in- 
spected the  walls  and  engines  of  his  towns  to  make  sure 
they  could  resist.  These  preparations  concluded,  he  told 
his  wife  and  daughters  they  should  now  see  with  their  own 
eyes  how  well  he  could  fight !  Soon  after  the  Moors  began 
besieging  the  city  (1102),  the  Cid  arranged  that  some  of 
his  troops  should  slip  out  and  attack  them  from  behind 
while  he  faced  them.  By  this  stratagem  the  Moors  were 
caught  between  opposing  forces,  and  overestimating  their 
numbers  fled  in  terror,  allowing  the  Cid  to  triumph  once 
more,  although  he  had  only  four  thousand  men  to  oppose 
to  their  fifty  thousand !  Thanks  to  this  panic  of  the  Moors, 
the  Cid  collected  such  huge  quantities  of  booty,  that  he  was 
able  to  send  a  hundred  fully  equipped  horses  to  King 
Alfonso,  as  well  as  the  tent  which  he  had  captured  from 
the  Moorish  monarch.  These  gifts  not  only  pleased  Alfonso, 
but  awed  and  silenced  the  courtiers,  among  whom  were 
the  Infantes  of  Carrion,  who  deemed  it  might  be  well  to 
sue  for  the  Cid's  daughters,  since  the  father  was  able  to 
bestow  such  rich  gifts.  Having  reached  this  decision,  these 
scheming  youths  approached  the  king,  who,  counting  upon 


THE  CID  121 

his  vassals'  implicit  obedience  to  his  commands,  promised 
they  should  marry  as  they  wished. 

When  the  bearers  of  the  Cid's  present,  therefore,  re- 
turned to  Valencia,  they  bore  a  letter  wherein  Alfonso  bade 
the  Cid  give  his  daughters  in  marriage  to  the  Infantes  of 
Carrion.  Although  this  marriage  suited  neither  the  old 
hero  nor  his  wife,  both  were  far  too  loyal  to  oppose  the 
king's  wishes,  and  humbly  sent  word  they  would  obey. 

Then  the  Cid  graciously  went  to  meet  his  future  sons- 
in-law.  They  were  escorted  to  the  banks  of  the  Tagus  by 
Alfonso  himself,  who  there  expressed  surprise  at  the  length 
of  the  Cid's  beard,  and  seemed  awed  by  the  pomp  with 
which  he  was  surrounded,  for  at  the  banquet  all  the  chief 
men  ate  out  of  dishes  of  gold  and  no  one  was  asked  to  use 
anything  less  precious  than  silver.  Not  only  did  the  Cid 
assure  his  future  sons-in-law  that  his  daughters  should  have 
rich  dowries,  but,  the  banquet  ended,  escorted  them  back  to 
Valencia,  where  he  entertained  them  royally. 

The  wedding  festivities  lasted  fifteen  days,  but  even 
after  they  were  over  the  Infantes  of  Carrion  tarried  in 
Valencia,  thus  giving  the  Cid  more  than  one  opportunity  to 
regret  having  bestowed  his  daughters'  hands  upon  youths 
who  possessed  neither  coursige  nor  nobility  of  character. 
While  the  young  men  were  still  lingering  ia  Valencia,  it 
happened  one  afternoon — ^while  the  Cid  lay  sleeping  in  the 
haU — ^that  a  huge  lion,  kept  in  the  court-yard  for  his  amuse- 
ment, escaped  from  its  keepers.  While  those  present  imme- 
diately rushed  forward  to  protect  the  sleeper,  the  Cid's 
sons-in-law,  terrified  at  the  sight  of  the  monster,  crept  one 
beneath  the  hero's  couch  and  the  other  over  a  wine-press, 
thus  soiling  his  garments  so  he  was  not  fit  to  be  seen.  At 
the  lion's  roar  the  Cid  awoke.  Seeing  at  a  glance  what  had 
occurred,  he  sprang  forward,  then,  laying  a  powerful  hand 
on  the  animal's  mane,  compelled  him  to  follow  him  out  of 
the  hall,  and  thrust  him  ignominiously  back  into  his  cage. 

Because  the  Infantes  had  so  plainly  revealed  their 
cowardice,  people  made  fun  of  them,  until  they  roused 
their  resentment  to  such  an  extent  that,  when  the  Moors 


122  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

again  threatened  Valencia,  they  offered  to  go  forth  and 
defend  the  Cid.  This  show  of  courage  simply  delighted  the 
old  hero,  who  sallied  forth  accompanied  by  both  sons-in- 
law  and  hj  the  bishop,  who  was  a  mighty  fighter.  Although 
most  of  the  warriors  present  did  wonders  on  this  occasion, 
the  Infantes  of  Carrion  were  careful  not  to  run  any  risk, 
although  one  of  them  purchased  a  horse  which  a  soldier 
had  won  from  the  Moors,  and  shamelessly  passed  it  off  as 
his  own  trophy.  Pleased  to  think  this  son-in-law  had  so 
distinguished  himself,  the  Cid  complimented  him  after  the 
battle,  where  he  himself  had  slain  so  many  Moors  and  won 
so  much  booty  that  he  was  able  to  send  another  princely 
present  to  Alfonso.  Perceiving  they  were  still  objects  of 
mockery  among  the  followers  of  the  Cid,  the  Infantes  now 
begged  permission  to  take  their  wives  home,  although  their 
real  intention  was  to  make  these  helpless  girls  pay  for  the 
insults  they  had  received.  Although  the  Cid  little  suspected 
this  fact,  he  regretfully  allowed  his  daughters  to  depart, 
and  tried  to  please  his  sons-in-law  by  bestowing  upon  them 
the  choice  swords,  Tizona  and  Colada,  won  in  the  course  of 
his  battles  against  the  Moors. 

Two  days'  journey  from  Valencia  the  infantes  prepared 
to  carry  out  the  revenge  they  had  planned,  but  while  con- 
ferring in  regard  to  its  details  were  overheard  by  a  Moor, 
who,  vowing  he  would  have  nothing  to  do  with  such  cowards, 
left  them  unceremoniously.  Sending  on  their  main  troops 
with  a  cousin  of  the  girls,  Felez  Munoz,  who  served  as  their 
escort,  tl;e  Infantes  led  their  wives  into  a  neighboring 
forest,  where,  after  stripping  them,  they  beat  them  cruelly, 
kicked  them  with  their  spurs,  and  abandoned  them  griev- 
ously wounded  and  trembling  for  their  lives.  When  the 
Infantes  rejoined  their  suite  minus  their  wives,  Felez 
Munoz,  suspecting  something  was  wrong,  rode  back  hastily, 
and  found  his  cousins  in  such  a  pitiful  plight  that  they 
were  too  weak  to  speak.  Casting  his  own  cloak  about  the 
nearly  naked  women,  he  tenderly  bore  them  into  a  thicket, 
where  they  could  lie  in  safety  while  he  watched  over  them 
all  night,  for  he  did  not  dare  leave  them  to  go  in  quest  of 


THE  cm  123 

aid.  At  dawn  he  hurried  off  to  a  neighboring  villsige  and 
secured  help.  There,  in  the  house  of  a  kind  man,  the  poor 
ladies  were  cared  for,  while  their  cousin  hastened  on  to 
apprise  the  Cid  of  what  had  occurred. 

Meantime  the  Infantes  had  met  Alvar  Fanez  conveying 
to  the  king  another  present,  and,  on  being  asked  where  were 
their  wives,  carelessly  rejoined  they  had  left  them  behind. 
Ill  pleased  with  such  a  report,  Alvar  Fanez  and  his  troops 
hurried  back  in  quest  of  the  ladies,  but  found  nothing 
save  traces  of  blood,  which  made  them  suspect  foul  play. 
On  discoveruig  what  had  really  happened  to  the  Cid's 
daughters,  Alvar  Fanez  hurried  on  to  deliver  the  present  to 
the  king,  and  indignantly  reported  what  treatment  the  Cid 's 
daughters  had  undergone  at  the  hands  of  the  bridegrooms 
the  king  had  chosen  for  them,  informing  him  that  since  he 
had  made  the  marriage  it  behooved  him  to  see  justice  done. 
Horrified  on  hearing  what  had  occurred,  Alfonso  sum- 
moned the  Cortes,  sending  word  to  the  Cid  and  to  the  In 
fantes  to  appear  before  it  at  Toledo  three  months  hence. 

Meantime  the  Cid,  learning  what  had  befallen  his  poor 
girls,  hastened  to  them,  took  them  home,  and,  hearing  that 
the  king  himself  would  judge  his  case,  decided  to  abide  by 
the  decision  of  the  Cortes.  At  the  end  of  the  third  month, 
therefore,  the  Cid's  followers — who  had  preceded  him — 
erected  in  the  royal  hall  at  Toledo  the  ivory  seat  he  had 
won  at  Valencia,  and  Alfonso  himself  openly  declared  the 
Cid  quite  worthy  to  occupy  a  throne  by  his  side,  seeing  no 
one  had  ever  served  him  as  well  as  the  man  whom  the 
courtiers  were  always  trying  to  belittle.  The  day  for  the 
solemn  session  having  dawned,  the  Cid  entered  the  hall, 
followed  by  a  hundred  knights,  while  the  Infantes  of 
Carrion  appeared  there  with  equal  numbers,  being  afraid 
of  an  attack.  "When  summoned  to  state  his  wrongs,  the 
Cid  quietly  rose  from  his  ivory  throne,  declaring  that, 
having  bestowed  upon  the  Infantes  two  swords  of  great 
price,  he  demanded  their  return,  since,  as  they  refused  to 
have  anything  more  to  do  with  his  daughters,  he  could  no 
longer  consider  them  his  sons.    All  present  were  amazed 


124  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

at  the  mildness  of  the  Cid's  speech  and  at  his  demanding 
merely  the  return  of  his  swords,  and  the  Infantes,  glad  to 
be  let  off  so  easily,  promptly  resigned  both  weapons  into 
the  Cid's  hand.  With  his  precious  swords  lying  across  his 
lap,  the  Cid  now  declared  that  having  also  given  the  In- 
fantes large  sums  of  money  he  wished  those  returned  also, 
and,  although  the  young  men  objected,  the  court  sentenced 
them  to  pay  the  sum  the  Cid  claimed.  Both  of  these  de- 
mands having  been  granted,  the  Cid  next  required  satis- 
faction for  the  treatment  the  Infantes  had  inflicted  upon 
his  daughters,  eloquently  describing  to  the  Cortes  the 
cruelty  and  treachery  used. 

"So  please  your  Grace!  once  more  upon  your  clemency  I  call; 
A  grievance  yet  remains  untold,  the  greatest  grief  of  all. 
And  let  the  court  give  ear,  and  weigh  the  wrong  that  hath  been 

done. 
I  hold  myself  dishonored  by  the  lords  of  Carrion. 
Redress  my  combat  they  must  yield;  none  other  will  I  take. 
How  now,  Infantes!  what  excuse,  what  answer  do  ye  make? 
Why  have  ye  laid  my  heartstrings  bare?     In  jest  or  earnest  say. 
Have  I  offended  you?  and  I  will  make  amends  to-day. 

"  My  daughters  in  your  hands  I  placed  the  day  that  forth  ye  went, 
And  rich  in  wealth  and  honors  from  Valencia  were  ye  sent. 
Why  did  ye  carry  with  you  brides  ye  loved  not,  treacherous  curs? 
Why  tear  their  Hesh  in  Corpes  wood  with  saddle-girths  and  spurs. 
And  leave  them  to  the  beasts  of  prey  ?  Villains  throughout  were  ye ! 
What  answer  ye  can  make  to  this  'tis  for  the  court  to  see." 

When  the  Cid  added  that  Alfonso  was  responsible  for 
these  unfortunate  marriages,  the  monarch  admitted  the 
fact,  and  asked  what  the  Infantes  of  Carrion  could  say  in 
their  own  defence.  Insolently  they  declared  the  Cid's 
daughters  not  worthy  to  mate  with  them,  stating  they  had, 
on  the  whole,  treated  them  better  than  they  deserved  by 
honoring  them  for  a  time  with  their  attentions. 

Had  not  the  Cid  forbidden  his  followers  to  speak  untU 
he  granted  permission,  these  words  would  have  been 
avenged  almost  as  soon  as  uttered.  But,  forgetting  his 
previous  orders,  the  aged  Cid  now  demanded  of  Pero  Mudo 
(Dumby)  why  he  did  not  speak,  whereupon  this  hero 
boldly  struck  one  of  the  Infantes'  party  and  challenged 
them  all  to  fight. 


THE  cm  125 

Thus  compelled  to  settle  the  difficulty  by  a  judicial  duel, 
the  king  bade  the  Infantes  and  their  uncle  be  ready  to 
meet  the  Cid's  champions  in  the  lists  on  the  morrow.  The 
poem  describes  the  encounter  thus : 

The  marshals  leave  them  face  to  face  and  from  the  lists  are  gone; 
Here  stand  the  champions  of  my  Cid,  there  those  of  Carrion; 
Each  with  his  gaze  intent  and  fixed  upon  his  chosen  foe, 
Their  bucklers  braced  before  their  breasts,  their  lances  pointing  low. 
Their  heads  bent  down,  as  each  man  leans  above  his  saddle-bow. 
Then  with  one  impulse  every  spur  is  in  the  charger's  side, 
And  earth  itself  is  felt  to  shake  beneath  their  furious  stride; 
Till,  midway  meeting,  three  with  three,  in  struggle  fierce  they  lock. 
While  all  account  tbem  dead  who  hear  the  echo  of  the  shock. 

The  cowardly  Infantes,  having  been  defeated,  publicly 
confessed  themselves  in  the  wrong,  and  were  ever  after 
abhorred,  while  the  Cid  returned  to  Valencia  with  the 
spoils  wrung  from  his  adversaries,  and  proudly  presented 
to  his  wife  and  daughters  the  three  champions  who  had 
upheld  their  cause. 

He  who  a  noble  lady  wrongs  and  casts  aside — ^may  he 

Meet  like  requital  for  his  deeds,  or  worse,  if  worse  there  be. 

But  let  us  leave  them  where  they  lie — ^their  meed  is  all  men's  scorn. 

Turn  we  to  speak  of  him  that  in  a  happy  hour  was  born. 

Valencia  the  Great  was  glad,  rejoiced  at  heart  to  see 

The  honoured  champions  of  her  lord  return  in  victory. 

Shortly  after  this  the  Cid's  pride  was  further  salved  by 
proposals  of  marriage  from  the  princes  of  Aragon  and 
Navarre,  and  thus  his  descendants  in  due  time  sat  upon 
the  thrones  of  these  realms. 

And  he  that  in  a  good  hour  was  born,  behold  how  he  hath  sped! 
His  daughters  now  to  higher  rank  and  greater  honor  wed: 
Sought  by  Navarre  and  Aragon  for  queens  his  daughters  twain; 
And  monarchs  of  his  blood  to-day  upon  the  thrones  of  Spain. 

Five  years  now  elapsed  during  which  the  Cid  lived 
happy,  honored  by  all  and  visited  by  embassies  even  from 
distant  Persia.  But  the  Cid  was  now  old  and  felt  his  end 
near,  for  St.  Peter  visited  him  one  night  and  warned  bim 
that,  although  he  would  die  in  thirty  days,  he  would 
triumph  over  the  Moors  even  after  life  had  departed. 

This  assurance  was  most  comforting,  for  hosts  of  Moors 
had  suddenly  crossed  the  seas  and  were  about  to  besiege 


126  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Valencia.  Trusting  in  St.  Peter's  warning,  the  Cid  made 
all  Ms  preparations  for  death,  and,  knowing  his  followers 
would  never  be  able  to  hold  the  city  after  he  was  gone, 
bade  them  keep  his  demise  secret,  embabn  his  body,  bind 
it  firmly  on  his  steed  Bavieca,  and  boldly  cut  their  way 
out  of  the  city  with  him  in  their  van. 

Just  as  had  been  predicted,  the  Cid  died  on  the  thirtieth 
day  after  his  vision,  and,  his  corpse  having  been  embalmed 
as  he  directed,  his  followers  prepared  to  leave  Valencia. 
To  the  amazement  of  the  Moors,  the  gates  of  the  city  they 
were  besieging  were  suddenly  flung  open  wide,  and  out 
sallied  the  Christians  with  the  Cid  in  their  midst.  The 
mere  sight  of  this  heroic  leader  caused  such  a  panic,  that 
the  little  troop  of  six  hundred  Christian  knights  safely, 
conveyed  their  dead  chief  and  his  family  through  the 
enemy's  serried  ranks  to  Castile.  Other  detachments  led 
by  the  bishop  and  Gil  Diaz  then  drove  these  Moors  back 
to  Africa  after  securing  immense  spoil. 

Seeing  Valencia  abandoned,  the  Moors  whom  the  Cid 
had  established  without  the  city  returned  to  take  possession 
of  their  former  houses,  on  one  of  which  they  discovered 
an  inscription  stating  that  the  Cid  Campeador  was  dead 
and  would  no  longer  dispute  possession  of  the  city. 

Meantime  the  funeral  procession  had  gone  on  to  the 
Monastery  of  St.  Pedro  de  Cardena,  where  the  Cid  was 
buried,  as  he  requested,  and  where  his  marvellously  pre- 
served body  sat  in  his  ivory  throne  ten  years,  before  it 
was  placed  in  its  present  tomb. 

For  two  years  and  a  half  the  steed  Bavieca  was  rever- 
ently tended  by  the  Cid's  followers,  none  of  whom,  however, 
ever  presumed  to  bestride  him.  As  for  Ximena,  having 
mounted  guard  over  'her  husband's  remains  four  years, 
she  finally  died,  leaving  grandchildren  to  rule  over  Navarre 
and  Aragon. 

And  so  his  honor  in  the  land  grows  greater  day  by  day. 
Upon  the  feast  of  Pentecost  from  life  he  passed  away. 
Tor  him  and  all  of  us  the  Grace  of  Christ  let  us  implore. 
And  here  ye  have  the  story  of  my  Cid  Campeador. 


PORTUGUESE  EPICS 

PoBTUQxra)SE  literature,  owing  to  its  late  birth,  shows 
little  originality.  Besides,  its  earliest  poems  are  of  a  purely 
lyrical  and  not  of  an  epical  type.  Then,  too,  its  reigning 
family  being  of  Burgundian  extraction,  it  borrowed  its 
main  ideas  and  literary  material  from  France.  In  that 
way  Charlemagne,  the  Arthurian  romances,  and  the  story 
of  the  Holy  Grail  became  popular  in  Portugal,  where  it 
is  even  claimed  that  Amadis  de  Gaule  originated,  although 
it  received  its  finished  form  ia  Spain. 

The  national  epic  of  Portugal  is  the  work  of  Luis  de 
Camoens,  who,  inspired  by  patriotic  fervor,  sang  in  Os 
Lusiades  of  the  discovery  of  the  eagerly  sought  maritime 
road  to  India.  Of  course,  Vasco  da  Gama  is  the  hero  of 
this  epic,  which  is  described  in  extenso  further  on. 

In  imitation  of  Camoens,  sundry  other  Portuguese  poets 
attempted  epics  on  historical  themes,  but  none  of  their 
works  possess  sufficient  merits  to  keep  their  memory  green. 

During  the  sixteenth  century,  many  versions  of  the 
prose  epics  or  romances  of  chivalry  were  rife,  Amadis  de 
Gaule  and  its  sequel,  Palmerina  d 'Inglaterra,  being  the 
most  popular  of  all. 

Later  on  Meneses  composed,  according  to  strict  classic 
rules,  a  tedious  epic  entitled  Henriqueida,  in  praise  of  the 
monarch  Henry,  and  de  Macedo  left  0  Oriente,  an  epical 
composition  which  enjoyed  a  passing  popularity. 

THE  LUSIAD 

Introduction.  The  author  of  the  Portuguese  epic,  Luis 
de  Camoens,  was  bom  at  Lisbon  in  1524.  Although  his 
father,  commander  of  a  warship,  was  lost  at  sea  during  his 
infancy,  his  mother  contrived  to  give  him  a  good  education, 
and  even  sent  him  to  the  University  at  Coimbra,  where  he 
began  to  write  poetry. 

127 


128  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

After  graduating  C'amoens  served  at  court,  and  there 
incurred  royal  displeasure  by  falling  in  love  with  a  lady  his 
majesty  chose  to  honor  with  his  attentions.  During  a  period 
of  banishment  at  Santarem,  Camoens  began  the  Lusiad,  Os 
Lusiades,  an  epic  poem  celebrating  Vaseo  da  Gama's  jour- 
ney to  India  in  1497^  and  rehearsing  with  patriotic  en- 
thusiasm the  glories  of  Portuguese  history.  Owing  to  its 
theme,  this  epic,  which  a  great  authority  claims  should  be 
termed  "the  Portugade,"  is  also  known  as  the  Epic  of 
Commerce  or  the  Epic  of  Patriotism. 

After  his  banishment  Camoens  obtained  permission  to 
join  the  forces  directed  against  the  Moors,  and  shortly 
after  lost  an  eye  in  an  engagement  in  the  Strait  of  Gibraltar. 
Although  he  distinguished  himself  as  a  warrior,  Camoens 
did  not  even  then  neglect  the  muse,  for  he  reports  he 
wielded  the  pen  with  one  hand  and  the  sword  with  the 
other. 

After  this  campaign  Camoens  returned  to  court,  but, 
incensed  by  the  treatment  he  received  at  the  hands  of 
jealous  courtiers,  he  soon  vowed  his  ungrateful  country 
should  not  even  possess  his  bones,  and  sailed  for  India,  in 
1553,  in  a  fleet  of  four  vessels,  only  one  of  which  was  to 
arrive  at  its  destination,  Goa. 

While  in  India  Camoens  sided  with  one  of  the  native 
kitfgs,  whose  wrath  he  excited  by  imprudently  revealing 
his  political  tendencies.  He  was,  therefore,  exiled  to  Macao, 
where  for  five  years  he  seized  as  "administrator  of  the 
effects  of  deceased  persons,"  and  managed  to  amass  a  con- 
siderable fortune  while  continuing  his  epic.  It  was  on  his 
way  back  to  Goa  that  Camoens  suffered  shipwreck,  and  lost 
all  he  possessed,  except  his  poem,  with  which  he  swam 
ashore. 

Sixteen  years  after  his  departure  from  Lisbon,  Camoens 
returned  to  his  native  city,  bringing  nothing  save  his  com- 
pleted epic,  which,  owing  to  the  pestilence  then  raging  in 
Europe,  could  be  published  only  in  1572.     Even  then  the 

» See  the  author's  "  Story  of  the  Thirteen  Colonies." 


THE  LUSIAD  129 

Lusiad  attracted  little  attention,  and  won  for  him  only  a 
small  royal  pension,  which,  however,  the  next  king 
rescinded.  Thus,  poor  Camoens,  being  sixty-two  years  old, 
died  in  an  almshouse,  having  been  partly  supported  since 
his  return  by  a  Javanese  servant,  who  begged  for  his  master 
in  the  streets  of  Lisbon. 

Camoens'  poem  Os  Lusiades,  or  the  Lusitanians  (i.e., 
Portuguese),  comprises  ten  books,  containing  1102  stanzas 
in  heroic  iambics,  and  is  replete  vdth  mythological  allusions. 
Its  outline  is  as  follows: 

Book  I.  After  invoking  the  muses  and  making  a  cere- 
monious address  to  King  Sebastian,  the  poet  describes  how 
Jupiter,  having  assembled  the  gods  on  Mount  Olympus, 
directs  their  glances  upon  Vasco  da  Gama's  ships  plying 
the  waves  of  an  unknown  sea,  and  announces  to  them  that 
the  Portuguese,  who  have  already  made  such  notable  mari- 
time discoveries,  are  about  to  achieve  the  conquest  of  India. 

Bacchus,  who  has  long  been  master  of  this  land,  there- 
upon wrathfuUy  vows  Portugal  shall  not  rob  him  of  his 
domain,  while  Venus  and  Mars  implore  Jupiter  to  favor 
the  Lusitanians,  whom  they' consider  descendants  of  the 
Romans.  The  king  of  the  gods  is  so  ready  to  grant  this 
prayer,  that  he  immediately  despatches  Mercury  to  guide 
the  voyagers  safely  to  Madagascar.  Here  the  Portuguese, 
mistaken  for  Moors  on  account  of  their  swarthy  com- 
plexions, are  at  first  made  welcome.  But  when  the  islanders 
discover  the  strangers  are  Christians,  they  determine  to 
annihilate  them  if  possible.  So,  instigated  by  one  of  their 
priests, — ^Bacchus  in  disguise, — ^the  islanders  attack  the 
Portuguese  when  they  next  land  to  get  water.  Seeing  his 
men  in  danger.  Da  Gama  discharges  his  artillery,  and  the 
terrified  natives  fall  upon  their  knees  and  not  only  beg 
for  mercy,  but  offer  to  provide  him  with  a  pilot  capable 
of  guiding  him  safely  to  India. 

This  offer  is  accepted  by  Da  Gama,  who  does  not  sus- 
pect this  pilot  has  instructions  to  take  him  to  Quiloa,  where 
aU  Christians  are  slain.  To  delude  the  unsuspecting  Portu- 
guese navigator  into  that  port,  the  pilot  avers  the  Quiloans 

9 


180  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

are  Christians;  but  all  his  evil  plans  miscarry,  thanks  to 
the  interference  of  Mars  and  Venus,  who  by  contrary 
winds  hinder  the  vessels  from  entering  this  port. 

Book  II.  The  traitor  pilot  now  steers  toward  Mombaga, 
where  meanwhile  Bacchus  has  been  plotting  to  secure  the 
death  of  the  Portuguese.  But  here  Venus  and  her  nymphs 
block  the  entrance  of  the  harbor  with  huge  rocks,  and  the 
pilot,  realizing  the  Christians  are  receiving  supernatural 
aid,  jumps  overboard  and  is  drowned ! 

Venus,  having  thus  twice  rescued  her  proteges  from 
imminent  death,  now  visits  Olympus,  and  by  the  exercise 
of  all  her  conquettish  wiles  obtains  from  Jupiter  a  promise 
to  favor  the  Portuguese.  In  accordance  with  this  pledge, 
Mercury  himself  is  despatched  to  guide  the  fleet  safely  to 
Melinda,  whose  harbor  the  Portuguese  finally  enter,  decked 
with  flags  and  accompanied  by  triumphant  music. 

Now  Gama's  bands  the  quiv'ring  trumpet  blow. 
Thick  o'er  the  wave  the  crowding  barges  row, 
The  Moorish  flags  the  curling  waters  sweep. 
The  Lusian  mortars  thunder  o'er  the  deep; 
Again  the  fiery  roar  heaven's  concave  tears. 
The  Moors  astonished  stop  their  wounded  ears; 
Again  loud  thunders  rattle  o'er  the  bay, 
And  clouds  of  smoke  wide-rolling  blot  the  day; 
The  captain's  barge  the  gen'rous  king  ascends, 
His  arms  the  chief  enfold,  the  captain  bends 
(A  rev'rence  to  the  scepter'd  grandeur  due)  : 
In  silent  awe  the  monarcli's  wond'ring  view 
Is  fix'd  on  Vasco's  noble  mien;  the  while 
His  thoughts  with  wonder  weigh  the  hero's  toil. 
Esteem  and  friendship  with  his  wonder  rise. 
And  free  to  Gama  all  his  kingdom  lies." 

Book  III.  As  Vasco  da  Gama  has  solemnly  vowed  not 
to  leave  his  ship  until  he  can  set  foot  upon  Indian  soil,  he 
refuses  to  land  at  Melinda  although  cordially  invited  to  do 
so  by  the  native  king.  Seeing  the  foreign  commander  will 
not  come  ashore,  the  king  visits  the  Portuguese  vessel,  where 
he  is  sumptuously  entertained  and  hears  from  Da  Gama's 
own  lips  an  enthusiastic  outline  of  the  history  of  Portugal. 

'All  the  quotations  in  this  chapter  are  from  Mickle's  trans- 
lation of  the  "  Lusiad." 


THE  LUSIAD  131 

After  touching  upon  events  which  occurred  there  in 
mythological  ages,  Vaseo  relates  how  Portugal,  under 
Viriagus,  resisted  the  Roman  conquerors,  and  what  a  long 
conflict  his  country  later  sustained  against  the  Moors.  He 
also  explains  by  what  means  Portugal  became  an  independ- 
ent kingdom,  and  enthusiastically  describes  the  patriotism 
of  his  countryman  Egas  Moniz,  who,  when  his  king  was 
captured  at  the  battle  of  Guimaraens,  advised  this  prince 
to  purchase  his  liberty  by  pledging  himself  to  do  homage 
to  Castile.  But,  his  master  once  free,  Egas  Moniz  bade 
him  retract  this  promise,  saying  that,  since  he  and  his 
family  were  pledged  for  its  execution,  they  would  rather 
lose  their  lives  than  see  Portugal  subjected  to  Castile. 

"And  now,  O  king,"  the  kneeling  Egas  cries, 

"  Behold  my  perjured  honor's  sacrifice : 
If  such  mean  victims  can  atone  thine  ire. 
Here  let  my  wife,  my  babes,  myself  expire. 
If  gen'rous  bosoms  such  revenge  can  take, 
Here  let  them  perish  for  the  father's  sake: 
The  guilty  tongue,  the  guilty  hands  are  these. 
Nor  let  a  common  death  thy  wrath  appease; 
For  us  let  all  the  rage  of  torture  burn, 
But  to  my  prince,  thy  son,  in  friendship  turn." 

Touched  by  the  patriotism  and  devotion  of  Moniz,  the 
foe  not  only  spared  his  life,  but  showered  favors  upon  him 
and  even  allowed  him  to  go  home. 

The  king,  thus  saved  from  vassalage  by  the  devotion  of 
Moniz,  is  considered  the  first  independent  ruler  of 
Portugal.  Shortly  after  this  occurrence,  he  defeated  five 
Moorish  rulers  in  the  battle  of  Ourique,  where  the  Portu- 
guese claim  he  was  favored  with  the  appearance  of  a  cross 
in  the  sky.  Because  of  this  miracle,  the  Portuguese  mon- 
arch incorporated  a  cross  on  his  shield,  surrounding  it  with 
five  coins,  said  to  represent  the  five  kings  he  defeated. 
Later  on,  being  made  a  prisoner  at  Badajoz,  he  abdicated 
in  favor  of  his  son. 

After  proudly  enumerating  the  heroic  deeds  of  various 
Alphonsos  and  Sanchos  of  Portugal;  Da  Gama  related  the 
touching  tale  of  Fair  Inez  de  Castro    (retold  by  Mrs. 


132  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Hemans),  to  whom  Don  Pedro,  although  she  was  below 
him  in  station,  was  united  by  a  secret  marriage.  For 
several  years  their  happiness  was  unbroken  and  several 
children  had  been  bom  to  them  before  the  king,  Don  Pedro's 
father,  discovered  this  alliance.  Taking  advantage  of  a 
temporary  absence  of  his  son,  Alphonso  the  Brave  sent  for 
Inez  and  her  children  and  sentenced  them  all  to  death, 
although  his  daughter-in-law  fell  at  his  feet  and  implored 
him  to  have  mercy  upon  her  little  ones,  even  if  he  would 
not  spare  her.  The  king,  however,  would  not  relent,  and 
signalled  to  the  courtiers  to  stab  Inez  and  her  children. 

In  tears  she  utter'd — as  the  frozen  snow 

Touch'd  by  the  spring's  mild  ray,  begins  to  flow. 

So  just  began  to  melt  his  stubborn  soul, 

As  mild-ray'd  Pity  o'er  the  tyrant  stole; 

But  destiny  forbaide:  with  eager  zeal 

(Again  pretended  for  the  public  weal). 

Her  fierce  accusers  urg'd  her  speedy  doom; 

Again  dark  rage  diffus'd  its  horrid  gloom 

O'er  stem  Alonzo's  brow:  swift  at  the  sign, 

Their  swords,  unsheath'd,  around  her  brandish'd  shine. 

O  foul  disgrace,  of  knighthood  lasting  stain. 

By  men  of  arms  a  helpless  lady  slain! 

On  returning  home  and  discovering  what  his  father 
had  done,  Don  Pedro  was  ready  to  rebel,  but  was  restrained 
from  doing  so  by  the  intervention  of  the  queen.  But,  on 
ascending  the  throne  when  his  father  died,  Don  Pedro  had 
the  body  of  his  murdered  wife  lifted  out  of  the  grave, 
decked  in  regal  apparel,  seated  on  the  throne  beside  him, 
and  he  compelled  all  the  courtiers  to  do  homage  to  her  and 
kiss  her  dead  hand,  vowing  as  much  honor  should  be  shown 
her  as  if  she  had  lived  to  be  queen.  This  ceremony  ended, 
the  lady's  corpse  was  laid  in  a  tomb,  over  which  her  mourn- 
ing husband  erected  a  beautiful  monument.  Then,  hearing 
his  wife's  slayers  had  taken  refuge  with  Peter  the  Cruel, 
Don  Pedro  waged  war  fierce  against  this  monarch  until  he 
surrendered  the  culprits,  who,  after  being  tortured,  were 
put  to  death. 

Vasco  da  Gama  also  related  how  another  king,  Fernando, 
stole  fair  Eleanora  from  her  husband,  and  vainly  tried  to 


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d 

§ 


THE  LUSIAD  133 

force  the  Portuguese  to  accept  their  illegitimate  daughter 
Beatrice  as  his  successor. 

Book  IV.  Rather  than  accept  as  queen  a  lady  who  had 
married  a  Spanish  prince, — ^who  would  probably  unite  their 
country  with  Spain,— the  Portuguese  fought  the  battle  of 
Eljubarota  in  favor  of  Don  John,  and  succeeded  in  dictat- 
ing terms  of  peace  to  the  Spanish  at  Seville.  Some  time 
after  this  the  king  of  Portugal  and  his  brother  were  cap- 
tured by  the  Moors,  and  told  they  could  recover  their 
freedom  only  by  surrendering  Ceuta.  Pretending  acquies- 
cence, the  king  returned  to  Portugal,  where,  as  he  had 
settled  with  his  brother,  who  remained  as  hostage  with  the 
Moors,  he  refused  to  surrender  the  city. 

After  describing  the  victories  of  Alfonso  V.,  Vasco  da 
Gama  related  how  John  II.,  thirteenth  king  of  Portugal, 
first  began  to  seek  a"  maritime  road  to  India,  and  how  his 
successor,  Emmanuel,  was  invited  in  a  vision,  by  the  gods 
of  the  Indus  and  Ganges,  to  come  and  conquer  their 
country. 

Here  as  the  monarch  flx'd  his  wond'ring  eyes. 

Two  hoary  fathers  from  the  streams  arise; 

Their  aspect  rustic,  yet,  a  reverend  grace 

Appear'd  majestic  on  their  wrinlcled  face: 

Their  tawny  beards  uncomb'd,  and  sweepy  long, 

Adown  their  knees  in  shaggy  ringlets  hung; 

From  every  lock  the  crystal  drops  distil, 

And  bathe  their  limbs,  as  In  a  trickling  rill; 

tray  wreaths  of  flowers,  of  fruitage  and  of  boughs, 

(Nameless  in  Europe),  crown'd  their  furrow'd  brows. 

Booh  V.  Such  was  the  enthusiasm  caused  by  this  vision 
that  many  mariners  dedicated  their  lives  to  the  discovery 
of  this  road  to  India.  Among  these  Gama  modestly  claims 
his  rank,  declaring  that,  when  he  called  for  volunteers  to 
accompany  him,  more  men  than  he  could  take  were  ready 
to  follow  him.  [History  reports,  however,  that,  such  was  the 
terror  inspired  by  a  voyage  in  unknown  seas,  Vasco  da 
Gama  had  to  empty  the  prisons  to  secure  a  crew!]  Then 
the  narrator  added  he  had — as  was  customary — taken  ten 
prisoners  with  him,  whose  death  sentence  was  to  be  com- 


134  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

muted  provided  they  faithfully  carried  out  any  difficult 
task  he  appointed. 

After  describing  his  parting  with  his  father,  Vasco  da 
Gama  relates  how  they  sailed  past  Mauritania  and  Madeira, 
crossed  the  line,  and  losing  sight  of  the  polar  star  took  the 
southern  cross  as  their  guide. 

"  O'er  the  wild  waves,  as  southward  thus  we  stray. 
Our  port  unknown,  unknown  the  wat'ry  way. 
Each  night  we  see,  impress'd  with  solemn  awe, 
Our  guiding  stars  and  native  skies  withdraw. 
In  the  wide  void  we  lose  their  cheering  beams. 
Lower  and  lower  still  the  pole-star  gleams. 


Another  pole-star  rises  o'er  the  wave: 
Full  to  the  south  a  shining  cross  appears. 
Our  heaving  breasts  the  blissful  omen  cheers: 
Seven  radiant  stars  compose  the  hallow'd  sign 
That  rose  still  higher  o'er  the  wavy  brine." 

A  journey  of  five  months,  diversified  by  tempests,  electrical 
phenomena,  and  occasional  landings,  brought  them  to  Cape 
of  Tempests,  which  since  Diaz  had  rounded  it  was  called 
the  Cape  of  Good  Hope.  While  battling  with  the  tem- 
pestuous seas  of  this  region,  Vasco  da  Gama  beheld,  in  the 
midst  of  sudden  darkness,  Adamastor,  the  Spirit  of  the 
Cape,  who  foretold  all  manner  of  dangers  from  which  it 
would  be  difficult  for  them  to  escape. 

"  We  saw  a  hideous  phantom  glare; 
High  and  enormous  o'er  the  ilood  he  tower'd, 
And  'thwart  our  way  with  sullen  aspect  lower'd: 
An  earthy  paleness  o'er  his  cheeks  was  spread. 
Erect  uprose  his  hairs  of  wither'd  red; 
Writhing  to  speak,  his  sable  lips  disclose. 
Sharp  and  disjoin'd,  his  gnashing  teeth's  blue  rows; 
His  haggard  beard  flow'd  qniv'ring  on  the  wind. 
Revenge  and  horror  in  his  mien  combin'd; 
His  clouded  front,  by  with'ring  lightnings  scar'd. 
The  inward  anguish  of  his  soul  declared. 
His  red  eyes,  glowing  from  their  dusky  caves. 
Shot  livid  fires:  far  echoing  o'er  the  waves 
His  voice  resounded,  as  the  cavern'd  shore 
With  hollow  groan  repeats  the  tempest's  roar." 


THE  LUSIAD  135 

The  King  of  Melinda  here  interrupts  Vasco  da  Gama's 
tale  to  explain  he  has  often  heard  of  that  Adamastor,  a 
Titan  transformed  into  a  rock  but  still  possessing  super- 
natural powers. 

Resuming  his  narrative,  Da  Gama  next  describes  their 
landing  to  clean  their  foul  ships,  their  sufferings  from 
scurvy,  their  treacherous  welcome  at  Mozambic,  their  nar- 
row escape  at  Quiloa  and  Mombaca,  and  ends  his  account 
with  his  joy  at  arriving  at  last  at  Melinda. 

Book  VI.  In  return  for  the  hospitality  enjoyed  on 
board  of  the  Portuguese  ships,  the  king  of  Melinda  sup- 
plies Da  Gama  with  an  able  pilot,  who,  steering  straight 
for  India,  brings  the  Portuguese  safely  to  their  goal,  in 
spite  of  the  fact  that  Bacchus  induces  Neptune  to  stir  up 
sundry  tempests  to  check  them.  But,  the  prayers  of  the 
Christian  crew  and  the  aid  of  Venus  counteract  Bacchus' 
spells,  so  Da  Gama's  fleet  enters  Calicut,  in  1497,  and  the 
Lusitanians  thus  achieve  the  glory  of  discovering  a  mari- 
time road  to  India ! 

Book  VII.  We  now  hear  how  a  Moor,  Mongaide,  de- 
tained a  prisoner  in  Calicut,  serves  as  interpreter  for  Da 
Gama,  explaining  to  him  how  this  port  is  governed  by 
the  Zamorin,  or  monarch,  and  by  his  prime  minister.  The 
interpreter,  at  Da  Gama's  request,  then  procures  an  audi- 
ence from  the  Zamorin  for  his  new  master. 

Book  VIII.  The  poet  describes  how  on  the  way  to  the 
palace  Da  Gama  passes  a  heathen  temple,  where  he  and  his 
companions  are  shocked  to  behold  countless  idols,  but  where 
they  can  but  admire  the  wonderful  carvings  adorning  the 
waUs  on  three  sides.  In  reply  to  their  query  why  the  ^f  ourth 
wall  is  bare,  they  learn  it  has  been  predicted  India  shall 
be  conquered  by  strangers,  whose  doings  are  to  be  depicted 
on  the  fourth  side  of  their  temple. 

After  hearing  Da  Gama  boast  about  his  country,  the 
Zamorin  dismisses  him,  promising  to  consider  a  trade  treaty 
with  Portugal.  But,  during  the  next  night,  Bacchus,  dis- 
guised as  Mahomet,  appears  to  the  Moors  in  Calicut,  and  bids 
them  inform  the  Zamorin  that  Da  Gama  is  a  pirate,  whose 


136  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

rich  goods  he  can  secure  if  he  will  only  follow  their  advice. 

This  suggestion,  duly  carried  out,  results  in  Da  Gama's 
detention  as  a  prisoner  when  he  lands  with  his  goods  on 
the  next  day.  But,  although  the  prime  minister  fancies 
the  Portuguese  fleet  wiU  soon  be  in  his  power,  Da  Gama 
has  prudently  given  orders  that,  should  any  hostile  demon- 
stration occur  before  his  return,  his  men  are  to  man  the 
guns  and  threaten  to  bombard  the  town.  When  the  Indian 
vessels  therefore  approach  the  Portuguese  fleet,  they  are 
riddled  with  shot. 

Book  IX.  Because  the  Portuguese  next  threaten  to 
attack  the  town,  the  Zamorin  promptly  sends  Da  Gama 
back  with  a  cargo  of  spices  and  gems  and  promises  of  fair 
treatment  hereafter.  The  Portuguese  thereupon  sail  home, 
taking  with  them  the  faithful  Mongaide,  who  is  converted 
on  the  way  and  baptized  as  soon  as  they  land  at  Lisbon. 

Book  X.  On  the  homeward  journey  Venus,  wishing  to 
reward  the  brave  Lusitanians  for  all  their  pains  and  in- 
demnify them  for  their  past  hardships,  leads  them  to  her 
"Isle  of  Joy."  Here  she  and  her  nymphs  entertain  them 
in  the  most  acceptable  mythological  style,  and  a  siren  fore- 
tells in  song  aU  that  will  befall  their  native  country  be- 
tween Vasco  da  Gama's  journey  and  Camoens'  time.  Venus 
herself  guides  the  navigator  to  the  top  of  a  hiU,  whence  she 
vouchsafes  him  a  panoramic  view  of  all  the  kingdoms  of 
the  earth  and  of  the  spheres  which  compose  the  universe. 

In  this  canto  we  also  have  a  synopsis  of  the  life  of 
St.  Thomas,  the  Apostle  of  India,  and  see  the  Portuguese 
sail  happily  off  with  the  beauteous  brides  they  have  won 
in  Venus'  Isle  of  Joy.  The  return  home  is  safely  effected, 
and  our  bold  sailors  are  welcomed  in  Lisbon  with  delirious 
joy,  for  their  journey  has  crowned  Portugal  with  glory. 
The  poem  concludes,  as  it  began,  with  an  apostrophe  from 
the  poet  to  the  king. 

The  Lusiad  is  so  smoothly  written,  so  harmonious,  and 
so  fuU  of  similes  that  ever  since  Camoens'  day  it  has  served 
as  a  model  for  Portuguese  poetry  and  is  even  yet  an 
accepted  and  highly  prized  classic  in  Portuguese  Literature. 


ITALIAN  EPICS 

The  fact  that  Latin  remained  so  long  the  chief  literary- 
language  of  Europe  prevented  an  early  development  of 
literature  in  the  Italian  language.  Not  only  were  all  the 
popular  European  epics  and  romances  current  in  Italy  in 
Latin,  but  many  of  them  were  also  known  in  Provengal 
in  the  northern  part  of  the  peninsula.  It  was,  therefore, 
chiefly  imitations  of  the  Provengal  bards'  work  which  first 
appeared  in  Italian,  in  the  thirteenth  century,  one  of  the 
best  poets  of  that  time  being  the  SordeUo  with  whom 
Dante  converses  in  Purgatory. 

Stories  relating  to  the  Charlemagne  cycle  found  par- 
ticular favor  in  Northern  Italy,  and  especially  at  Venice. 
In  consequence  there  were  many  Italian  versions  of  these 
old  epics,  as  well  as  of  the  allegorical  Roman  de  la  Rose. 

It  was  at  the  court  of  Frederick  II,  in  Sicily,  that  the 
first  real  school  of  Italian  poetry  developed,  and  from  there 
the  custom  of  composing  exclusively  in  the  vernacular 
spread  over  the  remainder  of  the  country.  These  early 
poets  chose  love  as  their  main  topic,  and  closely  imitated 
the  Provencal  style.  Then  the  "dolce  stU  nuovo,"  or  sweet 
new  style,  was  introduced  by  Guinicelli,  who  is  rightly  con- 
sidered the  first  true  Italian  poet  of  any  note.  The  earliest 
Italian  epic,  the  "Buovo  d'Antona,"  and  an  adaptation  of 
Reynard  the  Fox,  were  current  in  the  first  half  of  the  thir- 
teenth century  at  Venice  and  elsewhere.  In  the  second  half 
appeared  prose  romances,  such  as  tales  about  Arthur  and 
his  knights,  the  journey  of  Marco  Polo,  and  new  renderings 
of  the  old  story  of  Troy. 

Professional  story-tellers  now  began  to  wander  from 
place  to  place  in  Northern  and  Central  Italy,  entertaining 
auditors  of  all  classes  and  ages  with  stories  derived  from 
every  attainable  source.  But  the  first  great  epic  poet  in 
Italy  was  Dante  (1265-1321),  whose  Divina  Commedia, 
begun  in  1300,  is  treated  separately  in  this  volume. 

137 


138  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Although  Petrarch  was  prouder  of  his  Latin  than  of 
his  Italian  verses,  he  too  greatly  perfected  Italian  poetry, 
thus  enabHag  his  personal  friend  Boccaccio  to  handle  the 
language  with  lasting  success  in  the  tales  which  compose 
his  Decameron.  These  are  the  Italian  equivalents  of  the 
Canterbury  Tales,  and  in  several  cases  both  writers  have 
used  the  same  themes. 

By  the  fifteenth  century,  and  almost  simultaneously 
with  the  introduction  of  printing,  came  the  Renaissance, 
when  a  number  of  old  epics  were  reworked.  Roland — or, 
as  he  is  known  in  Italy,  Orlando — is  the  stock-hero  of  this 
new  school  of  poets,  several  of  whom  undertook  to  relate 
his  love  adventures.  Hence  we  have  "Orlando  Innamor- 
ato,"  by  Boiardo  and  Bemi,  as  weU  as  "Morgante  Mag- 
giore"  by  Pulei,  where  Roland  also  figures.  In  style 
and  tone  these  works  are  charming,  but  the  length  of 
the  poems  and  the  involved  adventures  of  their  numerous 
characters  prove  very  wearisome  to  modem  readers.  Next 
to  Dante,  as  a  poet,  the  Italians  rank  Ariosto,  whose 
"Orlando  Furioso,"  or  Roland  Insane,  is  a  continuation  of 
Boiardo 's  "Orlando  Innamorato."  Drawing  much  of  his 
material  from  the  French  romances  of  the  Middle  Ages, 
Ariosto  breathes  new  life  into  the  old  subject  and  graces 
his  tale  with  a  most  charming  style.  His  subject  was 
parodied  by  Folengo  iu  his  "Orlandino"  when  Roland 
began  to  pall  upon  the  Italian  public. 

The  next  epic  of  note  in  Italian  literature  is  Torquato 
Tasso's  "Gerusalemme  Liberata,"  composed  in  the  second 
half  of  the  sixteenth  century,  and  still  immensely  popular 
owing  to  its  exquisite  style.  Besides  this  poem,  of  which 
Godfrey  of  Bouillon  is  the  hero  and  which  is  par  excellence 
the  epic  of  the  crusades,  Tasso  composed  epics  on 
"Rinaldo,"  on  "Gerusalemme  Conquistata, "  and  "Sette 
Giomate  del  Mundo  Creato." 

Some  of  Ariosto 's  contemporaries  also  attempted  the 
epic  style,  including  Trissino,  who  in  his  "Italia  Liberata" 
relates  the  victories  of  Belisarius  over  the  Goths  in  blank 
verse.    His  fame,  however,  rests  on  "Sofonisba,"  the  first 


DIVINE  COMEDY  139 

Italian  tragedy,  in  fact  "the  first  regular  tragedy  in  all 
modern  literature." 

Although  no  epics  of  great  note  were  written  there- 
after, Alamanni  composed  "Girone  il  C'ortese"  and  the 
"Avarchide,"  which  are  intolerably  long  and  wearisome. 

"The  poet  who  set  the  fashion  of  fantastic  ingenuity" 
was  Marinus,  whose  epic  "Adone,"  in  twenty  cantos,  dilates 
on  the  tale  of  Venus  and  Adonis.  He  also  wrote  "Geru- 
salemme  Distrutta"  and  "La  Strage  degl'  Innocenti,"  and 
his  poetry  is  said  to  have  much  of  the  charm  of  Spenser's. 

The  last  Italian  poet  to  produce  a  long  epic  poem  was 
Fortiguerra,  whose  "  Ricciardetto "  has  many  merits, 
although  we  are  told  the  poet  wagered  to  complete  it  in 
as  many  days  as  it  has  cantos,  and  won  his  bet. 

The  greatest  of  the  Italian  prose  epics  is  Manzoni's  novel 
"I  Promessi  Sposi,"  which  appeared  in  1830.  Since  then 
Italian  poets  have  not  written  in  the  epic  vein,  save  to 
give  their  contemporaries  excellent  metrical  translations  of 
Milton's  Paradise  Lost,  of  the  Iliad,  the  Odyssey,  the 
Argonautica,  the  Lusiad,  etc. 

DIVINE  COMEDY 

THE  INFERNO 

Introduction.  In  the  Middle  Ages  it  was  popularly 
believed  that  Lucifer,  falling  from  heaven,  pimched  a  deep 
hole  in  the  earth,  stopping  only  when  he  reached  its  centre. 
This  funnel-shaped  hole,  directly  under  Jerusalem,  is 
divided  by  Dante  into  nine  independent  circular  ledges, 
communicating  only  by  means  of  occasional  rocky  stairways 
or  bridges.  In  each  of  these  nine  circles  are  punished  sinners 
of  a  certain  kind. 

Canto  I.  In  1300,  when  thirty-five  years  of  age,  Dante 
claims  to  have  strayed  from  the  straight  path  in  the 
"journey  of  Ufe,"  only  to  encounter  experiences  bitter  as 
death,  which  he  relates  in  aUegorieal  form  to  serve  as  warn- 
ing to  other  sinners.  Rousing  from  a  stupor  not  unlike 
sleep,  the  poet  finds  himself  in  a  strange  forest  at  the  foot 


140  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

of  a  sun-kissed  mountain.  On  trying  to  climb  it,  he  is 
turned  aside  by  a  spotted  panther,  an  emblem  of  luxury 
or  pleasure  (Florence),  a  fierce  lion,  personifying  ambition 
or  anger  (France),  and  a  ravening  wolf,  the  emblem  of 
avarice  (Eome).  Fleeing  in  terror  from  these  monsters, 
Dante  beseeches  aid  from  the  only  fellow-creature  he  sees, 
only  to  learn  he  is  Virgil,  the  poet  and  master  from  whom 
he  learned  "that  style  which  for  its  beauty  into  fame 
exalts  me." 

Then  Virgil  reveals  he  has  been  sent  to  save  Dante  from 
the  ravening  wolf  (which  also  personifies  the  papal  or 
Guelf  party),  only  to  guide  him  through  the  horrors  of 
the  Inferno,  and  the  sufferings  of  Purgatory,  up  to 
Paradise,  where  a  "worthier"  spirit  will  attend  him. 

Canto  II.  The  length  of  the  journey  proposed  daunts 
Dante,  until  Virgil  reminds  him  that  cowardice  has  often 
made  men  relinquish  honorable  enterprises,  and  encourages 
him  by  stating  that  Beatrice,  moved  by  love,  forsook  her 
place  in  heaven  to  bid  him  serve  as  Dante's  guide.  He 
adds  that  when  he  wondered  how  she  could  leave,  even  for 
a  moment,  the  heavenly  abode,  she  explained  that  the 
Virgin  Mary  sent  Lucia,  to  bid  her  rescue  the  man  who  had 
loved  her  ever  since  she  was  a  child.  Like  a  flower  revived 
after  a  chilly  night  by  the  warmth  of  the  sun,  Dante,  in- 
vigorated by  these  words,  intimates  his  readiness  to  foUow 
Virgil. 

Canto  III.  The  two  travellers,  passing  through  a  wood, 
reach  a  gate,  above  which  Dante  perceives  this  inscription: 

"Through  me  you  pass  into  the  city  of  woe: 
Through  me  you  pass  into  eternal  pain: 
Through  me  among  the  people  lost  for  aye. 
Justice  the  founder  of  my  fabric  moved: 
To  rear  me  was  the  task  of  power  divine, 
Supremest  vrisdom,  and  primeval  love. 
Before  me  things  create  were  none,  save  things 
Eternal,  and  eternal  I  endure. 
All  hope  abandon,  ye  who  enter  here." ' 

'All  the  quotations  in  Divine  Comedy  are  taken  from  Gary's 
translation. 


DIVINE  COMEDY  141 

Unable  to  grasp  its  meaning,  Dante  begs  Virgil  to  in- 
terpret, and  learns  they  are  about  to  descend  into  Hades. 
Having  visited  this  place  before,  Virgil  boldly  leads  Dante 
through  this  portal  into  an  ante-hell  region,  where  sighs, 
lamentations,  and  groans  pulse  through  the  starless  air. 
Shuddering  with  horror,  Dante  inquires  what  it  all  means, 
only  to  be  told  that  the  souls  "who  lived  without  praise  or 
blame,"  as  well  as  the  angels  who  remained  neutral  during 
the  war  in  heaven,  are  confined  in  this  place,  since  Para- 
dise, Purgatory,  and  Inferno  equally  refuse  to  harbor  them 
and  death  never  visits  them. 

While  he  is  speaking,  a  long  train  of  these  unfortunate 
spirits,  stung  by  gadflies,  sweeps  past  them,  and  in  their 
ranks  Dante  recognizes  the  shade  of  Pope  Celestine  V, 
who,  "through  cowardice  made  the  grand  renunciation," 
— i.e.,  abdicated  his  office  at  the  end  of  five  months,  simply 
because  he  lacked  courage  to  face  the  task  intrusted  to  him. 

Passing  through  these  spirits  with  downcast  eyes,  Dante 
reaches  Acheron, — ^the  river  of  death, — where  he  sees,  steer- 
ing toward  them,  the  ferry-man  Charon,  whose  eyes  are 
like  fiery  wheels  and  who  marvels  at  beholding  a  living  man 
among  the  shades.  When  Charon  grimly  orders  Dante  back 
to  earth,  Virgil  silences  him  with  the  brief  statement:  "so 
'tis  will'd  where  will  and  power  are  one. "  So,  without  fur- 
ther objection,  Charon  allows  them  to  enter  his  skiff  and 
hurries  the  rest  of  his  freight  aboard,  beating  the  laggards 
with  the  flat  of  his  oar.  Because  Dante  wonders  at  such 
ill-treatment,  Virgil  explains  that  good  souls  are  never 
forced  to  cross  this  stream,  and  that  the  present  passengers 
have  richly  deserved  their  punishment.  Just  then  an  earth- 
quake shakes  the  whole  region,  and  Dante  swoons  in  terror. 

Canto  IV.  When  he  recovers  his  senses,  Dante  finds 
bimsftlf  no  longer  in  Charon's  bark,  but  on  the  brink  of  a 
huge  circular  pit,  whence  arise,  like  emanations,  moans  and 
wails,  but  wherein,  owing  to  the  dense  gloom,  he  can  descry 
nothing.  Warning  him  they  are  about  to  descend  into  the 
"blind  world,"  and  that  his  sorrowful  expression — ^which 


142  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Dante  ascribes  to  fear — ^is  caused  by  pity,  Virgil  conducts 
his  disciple  into  the  first  circle  of  hell.  Instead  of  lamenta- 
tions, only  sighs  are  heard,  while  Virgil  explains  that  this 
semi-dark  limbo  is  reserved  for  unbaptized  children,  and 
for  those  who,  having  lived  before  Christ,  must  "live  desir- 
ing without  hope."  Pull  of  compassion  for  these  sufferers, 
Dante  inquires  whether  no  one  from  above  ever  visited 
them,  and  is  told  that  One,  bearing  trophies  of  victory, 
once  arrived  there  to  ransom  the  patriarchs  Adam,  Abel, 
Noah,  and  others,  but  that  until  then  none  had  ever  been 
saved. 

Talking  busily,  the  two  wend  their  way  through  a 
forest  of  sighing  spirits,  until  they  approach  a  fire,  around 
which  dignified  shades  have  gathered.  Informing  Dante 
these  are  men  of  honored  reputations,  Virgil  points  out 
among  them  four  mighty  figures  coming  to  meet  them,  and 
whispers  they  are  Homer,  Horace,  Ovid,  and  Luean.  After 
conversing  for  a  while  with  Virgil,  these  bards  graciously 
welcome  Dante  as  sixth  in  their  poetic  galaxy.  Talking  of 
things  which  cannot  be  mentioned  save  in  such  exalted 
company,  Dante  walks  on  with  them  until  he  nears  a  castle 
girdled  with  sevenfold  ramparts  and  moat.  Through  seven 
consecutive  portals  the  six  poets  pass  on  to  a  meadow,  where 
Dante  beholds  all  the  creations  of  their  brains,  and  meets 
Hector,  Aeneas,  Camilla,  and  Lucretia,  as  well  as  the 
philosophers,  historians,  and  mathematicians  who  from 
time  to  time  have  appeared  upon  our  globe.  Although 
Dante  would  fain  have  lingered  here,  his  guide  leads  him 
on,  and,  as  their  four  companions  vanish,  they  two  enter 
a  place  "where  no  light  shines." 

Canto  v.  Stepping  down  from  this  circle  to  a  lower 
one,  Dante  and  Virgil  reach  the  second  circle  of  the  In- 
ferno, where  all  who  lived  unchaste  lives  are  duly  punished. 

Smaller  in  circumference  than  the  preceding  circle for 

Dante's  hell  is  shaped  like  a  graduated  funnel, — ^this  place 
is  guarded  by  the  judge  Minos,  who  examines  all  newly 
arrived  souls,  and  consigns  them  to  their  appointed  circles 
by  an  equal  number  of  convolutions  in  his  tail. 


DIVINE  COMEDY  143 

For  when  before  him  comes  the  ill-fated  soul. 
It  all  confesses;  and  that  judge  severe 
Of  sins,  considering  what  place  in  hell 
Suits  the  transgression,  with  his  tail  so  oft 
Himself  encircles,  as  degrees  beneath 
He  dooms  it  to  descend. 

On  beholding  Dante,  Minos  speaks  threateningly,  but, 
when  Virgil  again  explains  they  have  been  sent  hither 
by  a  higher  power,  Minos  too  allows  them  to  pass.  In- 
creasing sounds  of  woe  now  strike  Dante's  ear,  until  pres- 
ently they  attain  the  intensity  of  a  deafening  roar.  Next 
he  perceives  that  the  whirlwind,  sweeping  violently  round 
this  abyss,  holds  in  its  grasp  innumerable  spirits  which  are 
allowed  no  rest.  Like  birds  in  a  tempest  they  swirl  past 
Dante,  to  whom  Virgil  hastily  points  out  Semiramis,  Dido, 
Cleopatra,  Helen,  Achilles,  Paris,  and  Tristan,  together 
with  many  others. 

Obtaining  permission  to  address  two  shades  floating 
toward  him,  Dante  learns  that  the  man  is  the  Paolo  who 
fell  in  love  with  his  sister-in-law,  Francesca  da  Rimini. 
Asked  how  she  happened  to  fall,  the  female  spirit,  moan- 
ing there  is  no  greater  woe  than  to  recall  happy  times  in  the 
midst  of  misery,  adds  that  while  she  and  Paolo  read  to- 
gether the  tale  of  Launcelot  they  suddenly  realized  they 
loved  in  the  same  way,  and  thus  fell  into  the  very  sin 
described  in  this  work,  for  "book  and  writer  both  were 
love's  purveyors."  Scarcely  has  she  confessed  this  when 
the  wind,  seizing  Francesca  and  Paolo,  again  sweeps  them 
on,  and  Dante,  hearing  their  pitiful  moans,  swoons  from 
compassion. 

Canto  VI.  Recovering  his  senses,  Dante  finds  Virgil 
has  meantime  transferred  him  to  the  third  circle,  a  region 
where  chill  rains  ever  fall,  accompanied  by  hail,  sleet,  and 
snow.  Here  all  guilty  of  gluttony  are  rent  and  torn  by 
Cerberus,  main  ruler  of  this  circle.  Flinging  a  huge  fistful 
of  dirt  into  the  dog's  gaping  jaws  to  prevent  his  snapping 
at  them,  Virgil  leads  Dante  quickly  past  this  three-headed 
monster,  to  a  place  where  they  tread  on  the  shades  which 
pave  the  muddy  ground,    One  of  these,  sitting  up,  sud- 


144  THE  BOOK  OP  THE  EPIC 

denly  inquires  of  Dante  wlietlier  he  does  not  recognize 
him,  adding  that  he  is  the  notorious  Florentine  glutton 
Ciacco.  Fancying  this  shade  may  possess  some  insight 
into  the  future,  Dante  inquires  what  is  to  become  of  his 
native  city,  and  learns  that  one  poUtical  party  will  drive 
out  the  other,  only  to  fall  in  its  turn  three  years  later.  The 
glutton  adds  that  only  two  just  men  are  left  in  Florence, 
and,  when  Dante  asks  what  has  become  of  his  friends, 
tells  him  he  will  doubtless  meet  them  in  the  various  circles 
of  Hades,  should  he  continue  his  downward  course. 

Then  the  spirit  begs  that,  on  returning  to  the  "pleasant 
world, ' '  Dante  will  recall  him  to  his  friends '  memory,  and, 
closing  his  eyes,  sinks  back  among  the  other  victims,  all  of 
whom  are  more  or  less  blind.  Vouchsafing  the  information 
that  this  sinner  will  not  rise  again  "ere  the  last  angel- 
trumpet  blow,"  Virgil  leads  Dante  dver  the  foul  mixture 
of  shades  and  mud,  explaining  that,  although  the  accursed 
can  never  hope  to  attain  perfection,  they  are  not  entirely 
debarred  from  improvement. 

Canto  VII.  Talking  thus,  the  two  travellers  descend 
to  the  fourth  circle,  ruled  by  Plutus,  god  of  wealth,  who 
allows  them  to  proceed,  only  after  Virgil  has  informed  him 
their  journey  is  ordained,  and  is  to  be  pursued  to  the  very 
spot  where  Michael  confined  Satan.  The  mere  mention 
of  his  master,  the  ex-archangel,  causes  Plutus  to  grovel; 
and  Dante  and  Virgil,  proceeding  on  their  journey,  dis- 
cover that  the  fourth  circle  is  occupied  by  all  whom  avarice 
mastered,  as  well  as  by  prodigals,  who  are  here  condemned 
to  roll  heavy  rocks,  because  their  lives  on  earth  were  spent 
scuffling  for  money  or  because  they  failed  to  make  good  use 
of  their  gold.  Dante  descries  among  the  victims  tonsured 
poUs,  proving  that  monks  themselves  are  not  exempt  from 
these  sins.  Meanwhile  Virgil  expounds  how  the  Creator 
decreed  nations  should  wield  the  mastery  in  turn,  adding 
that  these  people  are  victims  of  Fortune,  whose  proverbial 
fickleness  he  ably  describes. 

After  passing  a  weU,  whose  boiUng  waters  overflow 
and  form  a  stream,  they  foUow  the  latter 's  downward 


DIVINE  COMEDY  145 

course  to  the  marsh,  called  Styx,  where  hundreds  of  naked 
creatures  wallow  in  the  mire,  madly  clutching  and  striking 
each  other.  Virgil  explains  that  these  are  those  "whom 
anger  overcame,"  and  adds  that  the  sullen  are  buried  be- 
neath the  slimy  waters,  where  their  presence  is  betrayed 
by  bubbles  caused  by  their  breath  which  continually  rise 
to  the  surface.  Edging  around  this  loathsome  pool,  the 
two  poets  finally  arrive  at  the  door  of  a  tall  tower. 

Canto  VIII.  From  the  lofty  turret  flash  flaming 
signals,  evidently  designed  to  summon  some  bark  or  ferry, 
since  a  vessel  soon  appears.  Once  more  Virgil  has  to 
silence  a  snarling  boatman  (Phlegyas)  ere  he  can  enter 
his  skiff,  where  he  invites  Dante  to  follow  him.  Then  they 
row  across  the  mire,  whence  heads  keep  emerging  from 
time  to  time.  One  of  the  sufferers  confined  here  suddenly 
asks  Dante,  "Who  art  thou  that  earnest  ere  thine  hour?" 
only  to  be  hastily  assured  the  poet  does  not  intend  to  stay. 
Just  as  Dante  expresses  the  wish  to  know  whom  he  is 
addressing,  he  recognizes  this  sinner  (Argenti)  and  turns 
from  him  in  loathing,  an  act  which  wins  Virgil's  approval. 
When  Dante  further  mutters  he  wishes  this  monster  were 
stifled  in  the  mud,  Virgil  suddenly  points  to  a  squad  of 
avenging  spirits  who,  sweeping  downward,  are  about  to 
fulfil  this  cruel  wish,  when  the  culprit  rends  himself  to 
pieces  with  his  ovra  teeth  and  plunges  back  into  the  Styx. 

Sailing  along,  Virgil  tries  to  prepare  Dante  for  their 
arrival  at  the  city  of  Dis,  whose  minarets,  colored  by  a  fiery 
glow  from  within,  now  shine  in  the  distance.  Steered  into 
the  moat  surrounding  this  city,  the  travellers  slowly  circle 
its  iron  walls,  from  which  hosts  of  lost  souls  lean  clamoring, 
"Who  is  this  that  without  death  first  felt  goes  through 
the  region  of  the  dead?"  When  Virgil  signals  he  will 
explain,  the  demons  disappear  as  if  to  admit  them;  but, 
when  the  travellers  reach  the  gates,  they  find  them  still 
tightly  closed.  Virgil  then  explains  that  these  very  demons 
tried  to  oppose  even  Christ's  entrance  to  Hades,  and  adds 
that  their  power  was  broken  on  the  first  Easter  Day. 

Canto  IX,    Quailing  with  terror,  Dante  hears  Virgil 

10 


146  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

admit  that  few  have  undertaken  to  tread  these  paths, 
although  they  are  familiar  to  him,  seeing  that,  guided  by 
a  witch  (the  Sibyl  of  Cumaea),  he  came  here  with  Aeneas. 
While  Virgil  is  talking,  the  three  Furies  appear  on  top  of 
the  tower,  and,  noting  the  intruders,  clamor  for  Medusa 
to  come  and  turn  them  into  stone!  Bidding  Dante  avoid 
the  Gorgon's  petrifying  glance,  Virgil  further  assures  the 
safety  of  his  charge  by  holding  his  hands  over  Dante's 
eyes.  While  thus  blinded,  the  author  of  the  poem  hears 
waves  splash  against  the  shore,  and,  when  Virgil's  hands 
are  removed,  perceives  an  angel  walking  dry-shod  over 
the  Styx.  At  a  touch  from  his  hand,  the  gates  of  Dis  open 
wide,  and,  without  paying  heed  to  the  poets,  who  have  in- 
stinctively assumed  the  humblest  attitude,  their  divine 
rescuer  recrosses  the  bog,  leaving  them  free  to  enter  into 
the  iron  fortress.  There  they  find  countless  sinners  cased 
in  red-hot  cofiSns  sunk  in  burning  marl.  On  questioning 
his  guide,  Dante  learns  each  open  sepulchre  contains  an 
arch-heretic,  or  leader  of  some  religious  sect,  and  that  each 
tomb  is  heated  to  a  degree  corresponding  to  the  extent  of 
the  harm  done  by  its  occupant's  teachings. 

Canto  X.  Gingerly  treading  between  burning  tombs 
and  fortress  wall,  Virgil  conducts  Dante  to  an  open  sepul- 
chre, where  lies  the  Ghibelline  leader  Farinata.  Partly 
rising  out  of  his  glowing  tomb,  this  warrior  informs  Dante 
that  the  Guelfs — ^twice  driven  out  of  Florence — ^have  re- 
turned thither.  At  that  moment  another  victim,  peering 
over  the  edge  of  his  coffin,  anxiously  begs  for  news  of  his 
son  Guido,  thus  proving  that,  while  these  unfortunates 
know  both  past  and  future,  the  present  remains  a  mystery 
to  them.  Too  amazed  at  first  to  speak,  Dante  mentions 
Guido  in  the  past  tense,  whereupon  the  unhappy  father, 
rashly  inferring  his  son  is  dead,  plunges  back  into  his 
sepulchre  with  a  desperate  cry.  Not  being  able  to  correct 
his  involuntary  mistake  and  thus  comfort  this  sufferer, 
Dante  begs  Farinata  to  inform  his  neighbor,  as  soon  as 
possible,  that  his  son  is  still  alive.  Then,  perplexed  by  all 
he  has  seen  and  heard,  Dante  passes  thoughtfully  on,  noting 


DIVINE  COMEDY  147 

the  victims  punished  in  this  place,  until,  seeing  his  dismay, 
Virgil  comforts  him  with  the  assurance  that  Beatrice  will 
explain  all  he  wishes  to  know  at  the  end  of  his  journey. 

Canto  XI.  The  poets  now  approach  a  depression, 
whence  arises  a  stench  so  nauseating  that  they  are  compelled 
to  take  refuge  behind  a  stone  tomb  to  avoid  choking. 
"While  they  pause  there,  Dante  perceives  this  sepulchre 
bears  the  name  of  Pope  Anastasius,  who  has  been  led 
astray.  Tarrying  there  to  become  acclimated  to  the  smell, 
Virgil  iaforms  his  companion  they  are  about  to  pass 
through  three  gradations  of  the  seventh  circle,  where  are 
punished  the  violent,  or  those  who  by  force  worked  injury 
to  God,  to  themselves,  or  to  their  fellowmen. 

Canto  XII.  His  charge  sufficiently  prepared  for  what 
awaits  him,  Virgil  leads  the  way  down  a  steep  path  to  the 
next  rim,  where  they  are  confronted  by  the  Minotaur,  be- 
fore whom  Dante  quails,  but  whom  Virgil  defies  by  mention- 
ing Theseus.  Taking  advantage  of  the  moment  when  the 
furious,  bull-like  monster  charges  at  him  with  lowered  head, 
Virgil  runs  with  Dante  down  a  declivity,  where  the  stones, 
unaccustomed  to  the  weight  of  mortal  feet,  slip  and  roll  in 
ominous  fashion.  This  passage,  Virgil  declares,  was  less 
dangerous  when  he  last  descended  into  Hades,  for  it  has 
since  been  riven  by  the  earthquake  which  shook  this  region 
when  Christ  descended  into  hell. 

Pointing  to  a  boiling  river  of  blood  (Phlegethon)  be- 
neath them,  Virgil  shows  Dante  sinners  immersed  in  it  at 
different  depths,  because  while  on  earth  they  offered  violence 
to  their  neighbors.  Although  anxious  to  escape  from  these 
bloody  waters,  the  wicked  are  kept  within  their  appointed 
bounds  by  troops  of  centaurs,  who,  armed  with  bows  and 
arrows,  continually  patrol  the  banks.  When  these  guards 
threateningly  challenge  Virgil,  he  calmly  rejoins  he  wishes 
to  see  their  leader,  Chiron,  and,  while  awaiting  the  arrival 
of  this  worthy,  shows  Dante  the  monster  who  tried  to  kid- 
nap Hercules'  wife. 

On  drawing  near  them,  Chiron'  is  amazed  to  perceive 
one  of  the  intruders  is  alive,  as  is  proved  by  the  fact  that 


148  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

he  casts  a  shadow  and  that  stones  roll  beneath  his  tread! 
Noticing  his  amazement,  Virgil  explains  he  has  been  sent 
here  to  guide  his  mortal  companion  through  the  Inferno, 
and  beseeches  Chiron  to  detail  a  centaur  to  carry  Dante 
across  the  river  of  blood,  since  he  cannot,  spirit-like,  tread 
air.  Selecting  Nessus  for  this  duty,  Chiron  bids  him  con- 
vey the  poet  safely  across  the  bloody  stream,  and,  ■whUe 
performing  this  ofSce,  the  centaur  explains  that  the  victims 
more  or  less  deeply  immersed  in  blood  are  tyrants  who 
delighted  in  bloodshed,  such  as  Alexander,  Dionysius,  and 
others.  Borne  by  Nessus  and  escorted  by  Virgil,  Dante 
reaches  the  other  shore,  and,  taking  leave  of  them,  the 
centaur  "alone  repass 'd  the  ford." 

Canto  XIII.  The  travellers  now  enter  a  wild  forest, 
which  occupies  the  second  division  of  the  seventh  circle, 
where  Virgil  declares  each  barren  thorn-tree  is  inhabited 
by  the  soul  of  a  suicide.  In  the  gnarly  branches  perch  the 
Harpies,  whose  uncouth  lamentations  echo  through  the  air, 
and  who  greedily  devour  every  leaf  that  sprouts.  Appalled 
by  the  sighs  and  wailrngs  around  him,  Dante  questions 
Virgil,  who  directs  him  to  break  off  a  twig.  No  sooner  has 
he  done  so  than  he  sees  blood  trickle  from  the  break  and 
hears  a  voice  reproach  him  for  his  cruelty.  Thus  Dante 
learns  that  the  inmate  of  this  tree  was  once  private  secretary 
to  Frederick  II,  and  that,  having  fallen  into  unmerited 
disgrace,  he  basely  took  refuge  in  suicide.  This  victim's 
words  have  barely  died  away  when  the  blast  of  a  horn  is 
heard,  and  two  naked  forms  are  seen  fleeing  madly  before 
a  huntsman  and  a  pack  of  mastiffs.  The  latter,  pouncing 
upon  one  victim,  tears  him  to  pieces,  while  Dante  shudders 
at  this  sight.  Meantime  Virgil  explains  that  the  culprit 
was  a  young  spendthrift,  ajid  that  huntsman  and  hounds 
represent  the  creditors  whose  pursuit  he  tried  to  escape  by 
killing  himself. 

Canto  XIV.  Leaving  this  ghastly  forest,  Dante  is  led 
to  the  third  division  of  this  circle,  a  region  of  burning 
sands,  where  hosts  of  naked  souls  lie  on  the  ground,  blist- 
ered and  scathed  by  the  rain  of  fire  and  vaMy  tr3nng  to 


DIVINE  COMEDY  149 

lessen  their  pain  by  thrashing  themselves  with  their  hands. 
One  figure,  the  mightiest  among  them,  alone  seems  indiffer- 
ent to  the  burning  rain,  and,  when  Dante  inquires  who 
this  may  be,  Virgil  returns  it  is  Capaneus  (one  of  the  seven 
kings  who  besieged  Thebes  ^),  who,  in  his  indomitable  pride, 
taunted  Jupiter  and  was  slain  by  his  thunderbolt. 

Treading  warily  to  avoid  the  burning  sands,  Virgil 
and  his  disciple  cross  a  ruddy  brook  which  flows  straight 
down  from  Mount  Ida  in  Crete,  where  it  rises  at  the  foot 
of  a  statue  whose  face  is  turned  toward  Bome.  Virgil  ex- 
plains that  the  waters  of  this  stream  are  formed  by  the 
tears  of  the  unhappy,  which  are  plentiful  enough  to  feed 
the  four  mighty  rivers  of  Hades!  While  following  the 
banks  of  this  torrent,  Dante  questions  why  they  have  not 
yet  encountered  the  other  two  rivers  which  fall  into  the 
pit ;  and  discovers  that,  although  they  have  been  travelling 
in  a  circle,  they  have  not  by  far  completed  one  whole  round 
of  the  gigantic  funnel,  but  have  stepped  down  from  one 
ledge  to  the  other  after  walking  only  a  short  distance  around 
each  circumference. 

Canto  XV.  The  high  banks  of  the  stream  of  tears  pro- 
tect our  travellers  from  the  burning  sands  and  the  rain  of 
fire,  until  they  encounter  a  procession  of  souls,  each  one  of 
which  stares  fixedly  at  them.  One  of  these  recognizes 
Dante,  who  in  his  turn  is  amazed  to  find  there  his  old 
school-master  Ser  Brunetto,  whom  he  accompanies  on  his 
way,  after  he  learns  he  and  his  fellow-sufferers  are  not 
allowed  to  stop,  under  penalty  of  lying  a  hundred  years 
without  fanning  themselves  beneath  the  rain  of  fire.  Walk- 
ing by  his  former  pupil's  side,  Brunetto  in  his  turn  ques- 
tions Dante  and  learns  how  and  why  he  has  come  down  here, 
ere  he  predicts  that  in  spite  of  persecutions  the  poet  will 
ultimately  attain  great  fame. 

Canto  XVI.  Reaching  a  spot  where  the  stream  they 
are  following  suddenly  thunders  down  into  the  eighth 
circle,  Dante  beholds  three  spirits  running  toward  him, 

'  See  the  author's  "  Story  of  the  Greeks." 


150  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

whirling  round  one  another  "in  one  restless  wheel,"  while 
loudly  exclaiming  his  garb  denotes  he  is  their  feUow 
cotmtryman !  Gazing  into  their  fire-scarred  faces,  Dante 
learns  these  are  three  powerful  Guelfs;  and  when  they 
crave  tidings  of  their  native  city,  he  tells  them  all  that 
has  recently  occurred  there.  Before  vanishing  these  spirits 
piteously  implore  him  to  speak  of  them  to  mortals  on  his 
return  to  earth,  and  leave  Dante  and  Virgil  to  follow  the 
stream  to  the  verge  of  the  abyss.  There  Virgil  loosens 
the  rope  knotted  around  Dante's  waist,  and,  casting  one 
end  of  it  down  into  the  abyss,  intimates  that  what  he  is 
awaiting  will  soon  appear.  A  moment  later  a  monster 
rises  from  the  depths,  climbing  hand  over  hand  up  the 
rope. 

Canto  XVII.  This  monster  is  Geryon,  the  personifica- 
tion of  fraud,  and  therefore  a  mixture  of  man,  beast,  and 
serpent.  When  he  reaches  the  upper  ledge,  Virgil  bar- 
gains with  him  to  carry  them  down,  while  Dante  converses 
with  neighboring  sorrowful  souls,  who  are  perched  on  the 
top  of  the  cliff  and  hide  their  faces  in  their  hands.  All 
these  spirits  wear  purses  around  their  necks,  because  as 
.usurers  while  on  earth  they  lived  on  ill-gotten  gains.  Not 
daring  to  keep  his  guide  waiting,  Dante  leaves  these  sinners, 
and  hurries  back  just  as  Virgil  is  taking  his  seat  on  the 
monster's  back.  Grasping  the  hand  stretched  out  to  him, 
Dante  then  timorously  mounts  beside  his  guide. 

"Ab  one,  who  hath  an  ague  fit  so  near, 
His  nails  already  are  turn'd  blue,  and  he 
Quivers  all  o'er,  if  he  but  eye  the  shade; 
Such  was  my  cheer  at  hearing  of  his  words. 
But  shame  soon  interposed  her  threat,  who  makes 
The  servant  bold  in  presence  of  his  lord. 

I  settled  me  upon  those  shoulders  huge, 
And  would  have  said,  but  that  the  words  to  aid 
My  purpose  came  not,  '  Look  thou  clasp  me  firm.' " 

Then,  bidding  Dante  hold  fast  so  as  not  to  fall,  Virgil 
gives  the  signal  for  departure.  Wheeling  slowly,  Geryon 
flies  downward,  moderating  his  speed  so  as  not  to  unseat 


DIVINE  COMEDY  151 

his  passengers.  Comparing  his  sensations  to  those  of 
Phaeton  falling  from  the  sun-chariot,  or  to  Icarus'  horror 
when  he  dropped  into  the  sea,  Dante  describes  how,  as 
they  circled  down  on  the  beast's  back,  he  caught  fleeting 
glimpses  of  fiery  pools  and  was  almost  deafened  by  the 
rising  chorus  of  wails.  With  a  falcon-like  swoop  Geryon 
finally  alights  on  the  next  level,  and,  having  deposited  his 
passengers  at  the  foot  of  a  splintered  rock,  darts  away  like 
an  arrow  from  a  taut  bow-string. 

1  Canto  XVIII.  The  eighth  circle,  called  Malebolge 
(Evil  Pits),  is  divided  into  ten  gulfs,  between  which  rocky 
arches  form  bridge-like  passages.  This  whole' region  is  of 
stone  and  ice,  and  from  the  pit  in  the  centre  continually 
rise  horrid  exhalations.  Among  the  unfortunates  inces- 
santly lashed  by  horned  demons  in  the  first  gulf,  Dante 
perceives  one  who  was  a  notorious  pander  on  earth  and 
who  is  justly  suffering  the  penalty  of  his  crimes.  Later 
on,  watching  a  train  of  culprits  driven  by  other  demons, 
Dante  recognizes  among  them  Jason,  who  secured  the 
Golden  Fleece,  thanks  to  Medea,  but  proved  faithless  toward 
her  in  the  end. 

Crossing  to  the  second  division,  Dante  beholds  sinners 
buried  in  dung,  in  punishment  for  having  led  astray  their 
feUow-creatures  by  flattery.  One  of  them, — ^whom  the  poet 
recognizes, — emerging  from  his  filthy  bath,  sadly  confesses, 
"Me  thus  low  down  my  flatteries  have  sunk,  wherewith  I 
ne'er  enough  could  glut  my  tongue."  In  this  place  Dante 
also  notes  the  harlot  Thais,  expiating  her  sins,  with  other 
notorious  seducers  and  flatterers. 

Canto  XIX.  By  means  of  another  rocky  bridge  the 
travellers  reach  the  third  gulf,  where  are  punished  all 
who  have  been  guilty  of  simony.  These  are  sunk,  head 
first,  in  a  series  of  burning  pits,  whence  emerge  only  the 
red-hot  soles  of  their  convulsively  agitated  feet.  Seeing  a 
ruddier  flame  hover  over  one  pair  of  soles,  Dante  timidly 
inquires  to  whom  they  belong,  whereupon  Virgil,  carrying 
him  down  to  this  spot,  bids  him  seek  his  answer  from  the 
culprit  himself.    Peering  down  into  the  stone-pit,  Dante 


152  THE  BOOK  OP  THE  EPIC 

then  timidly  proffers  his  request,  only  to  be  hotly  reviled 
by  Pope  Nicholas  III,  who  first  mistakes  his  interlocutor 
for  Pope  Boniface,  and  confesses  he  was  brought  to  this 
state  by  nepotism.  But,  when  he  predicts  a  worse  pope 
will  ultimately  follow  him  down  into  this  region,  Dante 
sternly  rebukes  him. 

Canto  XX.  Virgil  is  so  pleased  with  Dante's  speech  to 
Pope  Nicholas  that,  seizing  him  in  his  arms,  he  carries 
him  swiftly  over  the  bridge  which  leads  to  the  fourth 
division.  Here  Dante  beholds  a  procession  of  chanting 
criminals  whose  heads  are  turned  to  face  their  backs.  This 
sight  proves  so  awful  that  Dante  weeps,  until  Virgil  bids 
him  note  the  different  culprits.  Among  them  is  the  witch 
Manto,  to  whom  Mantua,  his  native  city,  owes  its  name, 
and  Dante  soon  learns  that  all  these  culprits  are  the  famous 
soothsayers,  diviners,  magicians,  and  witches  of  the  world, 
who  thus  are  punished  for  having  presumed  to  predict  the 
future. 

Canto  XXI.  From  the  top  of  the  next  bridge  they 
gaze  into  a  dark  pit,  where  public  peculators  are  plunged 
into  boiling  pitch,  as  Dante  discovers  by  the  odor,  which 
keenly  reminds  him  of  the  shipyards  at  Venice.  Virgil 
there  directs  Dante's  attention  toward  a  demon,  who  hurls 
a  sinner  headlong  into  the  boiling  tar,  and,  without  watch- 
ing to  see  what  becomes  of  him,  departs  in  quest  of  some 
other  victim.  The  poet  also  perceives  that,  whenever  a 
sinner's  head  emerges  from  the  pitchy  waves,  demons  thrust 
him  down  again  by  means  of  long  forks.  To  prevent  his 
charge  falling  a  prey  to  these  active  evil  spirits,  Virgil 
directs  Dante  to  hide  behind  a  pillar  of  the  bridge  and 
from  thence  watch  all  that  is  going  on. 

"While  Dante  lurks  there,  a  demon,  descrying  him,  is 
about  to  attack  him,  but  Virgil  so  vehemently  proclaims 
they  are  here  by  Heaven's  will  that  the  evil  spirit  drops 
his  fork  and  becomes  powerless  to  harm  them.  Perceiving 
the  effect  he  has  produced,  Virgil  then  summons  Dante  from 
his  hiding-place,  and  sternly  orders  the  demon  to  guide 


DIVINE  COMEDY  153 

them  safely  through  the  raxiks  of  his  grimacing  fellows, 
all  of  whom  make  obscene  gestures  as  they  pass. 

Canto  XXII.  Dante,  having  taken  part  in  battles,  is 
famihar  with  military  manoeuvres,  but  he  declares  he 
never  behold  such  ably  marshalled  troops  as  the  demon 
hosts  through  which  they  pass.  Prom  time  to  time  he 
sees  a  devil  emerge  from  the  ranks  to  plunge  sinners  back 
into  the  lake  of  pitch,  or  to  spear  one  with  his  fork  and, 
after  letting  him  squirm  aloft  for  a  while,  hurl  him  back 
into  the  asphalt  lake.  One  of  these  victims,  questioned  by 
Virgil,  acknowledges  he  once  held  office  in  Navarre,  but, 
rather  than  suffer  at  the  hands  of  the  demon  tormentors, 
this  peculator  voluntarily  plunges  back  into  the  pitch. 
Seeing  this,  the  baffled  demons  fight  each  other,  until  two 
actually  fall  into  the  lake,  whence  they  are  fished  in  sowy 
plight  by  fellow-fiends. 

Canto  XXIII.  By  a  passage-way  so  narrow  they  are 
obliged  to  proceed  single  file,  Dante  and  Virgil  reach  the 
next  division,  the  author  of  this  poem  continually  gazing 
behind  him  for  fear  lest  the  demons  pursue  him.  His  fears 
are  only  too  justified,  and  Virgil,  seeing  his  peril,  catches 
him  up  in  his  arms  and  runs  with  him  to  the  next  gulf, 
knowing  demons  never  pass  beyond  their  beat. 

"Never  ran  water  with  such  hurrying  pace 
Adown  the  tube  to  turn  a  land-mill's  wheel. 
When  nearest  it  approaches  to  the  spokes, 
As  then  along  that  edge  my  master  ran, 
Carrying  me  in  his  bosom,  as  a  child. 
Not  a  companion." 

In  the  sixth  division  where  they  now  arrive,  they  behold 
a  procession  of  victims,  weighed  down  by  gilded  leaden 
cowls,  creeping  along  so  slowly  that  Dante  and  Virgil  pass 
all  along  their  line  although  they  are  not  walking  fast. 
Hearing  one  of  these  bowed  figures  address  him,  Dante 
learns  that,  because  he  and  his  companions  were  hypocrites 
on  earth,  they  are  doomed  to  travel  constantly  around  this 
circle  of  the  Inferno,  fainting  beneath  heavy  loads. 

A  moment  later  Dante  notices  that  the  narrow  path 


154  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

ahead  of  tliem  is  blocked  by  a  writhing  figure  pitmed  to 
the  ground  by  three  stakes.  This  is  Caiaphas,  who  in- 
sisted it  was  fitting  that  one  man  suffer  for  the  people  and 
who,  having  thus  sentenced  Christ  to  the  cross,  has  to  en- 
dure the  whole  procession  to  tramp  over  his  prostrate  form. 
The  cowled  figure  with  whom  Dante  is  conversing  informs 
him,  besides,  that  in  other  parts  of  the  circle  are  Ananias 
and  the  other  members  of  the  Sanhedrim  who  condemned 
Christ.  Deeming  Dante  has  now  seen  enough  of  this 
region,  Virgil  inquires  where  they  can  find  an  exit  from 
this  gulf,  and  is  shown  by  a  spirit  a  steep  ascent. 

Cam,to  XXIV.  So  precipitous  is  this  passage  that 
Virgil  half  carries  his  charge,  and,  panting  hard,  both 
scramble  to  a  ledge  overhanging  the  seventh  gulf  of  Male- 
bolge,  where  innumerable  serpents  prey  upon  naked  rob- 
bers, whose  hands  are  bound  behind  them  by  writhing 
snakes.  Beneath  the  constant  bites  of  these  reptiles,  the 
robber-victims  turn  to  ashes,  only  to  rise  phcenix-like  a 
moment  later  and  undergo  renewed  torments.  Dante  con- 
verses with  one  of  these  spirits,  who,  after  describing  his 
own  misdeeds,  prophesies  in  regard  to  the  future  of 
Florence. 

Canto  XXV.  The  blasphemous  speeches  and  gestures 
of  this  speaker  are  sUeneed  by  an  onslaught  of  snakes, 
before  whose  attack  he  attempts  to  flee,  only  to  be  over- 
taken and  tortured  by  a  serpent-ridden  centaur,  whom 
Virgil  designates  as  Cacus.  Further  on,  the  travellers  be- 
hold three  culprits  who  are  alternately  men  and  writhing 
snakes,  always,  however,  revealing  more  of  the  reptile  than 
of  the  human  nature  and  form. 

"The  other  two 
Look'd  on,  exclaiming,  'Ah!  How  dost  thou  change, 
Agnello!     See!  thou  art  nor  double  now 
Nor  only  one.'     The  two  heads  now  became 
One,  and  two  figures  blended  in  one  form 
Appear'd,  where  both  were  lost.     Of  the  four  lengths 
Two  arms  were  made:  the  belly  and  the  chest, 
The  thighs  and  legs,  into  such  members  changed 
As  never  eye  hath  seen." 


DIVINE  COMEDY  155 

Canto  XXVI.  From  another  bridge  Dante  gazes  down 
into  the  eighth  gulf,  where,  in  the  midst  of  the  flames,  are 
those  who  gave  evil  advice  to  their  fellow-creatures.  Here 
Dante  recognizes  Diomedes,  Ulysses,  and  sundry  other 
heroes  of  the  Iliad, — ^with  whom  his  guide  speaks, — and 
learns  that  Ulysses,  after  his  return  to  Ithaca,  resumed  his 
explorations,  ventured  beyond  the  pillars  of  Hercules,  and, 
while  sailing  in  the  track  of  the  sun,  was  drowned  in  sight 
of  a  high  mountain. 

Canto  XXVII.  In  the  midst  of  another  bed  of  flames, 
Dante  next  discovers  another  culprit,  to  whom  he  gives  the 
history  of  the  Romagna,  and  whose  life-story  he  hears  be- 
fore following  his  leader  down  to  the  ninth  gulf  of  Male- 
bolge. 

Canto  XXVIII.  In  this  place  Dante  discovers  the 
sowers  of  scandal,  schism,  and  heresy,  who  exhibit  more 
wounds  than  all  the  Italian  wars  occasioned.  Watching 
them,  Dante  perceives  that  each  victim  is  ripped  open  by 
a  demon's  sword,  but  that  his  wounds  heal  so  rapidly  that 
every  time  the  spirit  passes  a  demon  again  his  torture  is 
renewed.  Among  these  victims  Dante  recognizes  Mahomet, 
who,  wondering  that  a  living  man  should  visit  hell,  points 
out  Dante  to  his  fellow-shades.  Passing  by  the  travellers, 
sundry  victims  mention  their  names,  and  Dante  thus  dis- 
covers among  them  the  leaders  of  strife  between  sundry 
Italian  states,  and  shudders  when  Bertrand  de  Bom,  a 
fellow  minstrel,  appears  bearing  his  own  head  instead  of 
a  lantern,  in  punishment  for  persuading  the  son  of 
Henry  II,  of  England,  to  rebel.. 

Canto  XXIX.  Gazing  in  a  dazed  way  at  the  awful 
sights  of  this  circle,  Dante  learns  it  is  twenty-one  miles 
in  circumference,  ere  he  passes  on  to  the  next  bridge,  where 
lamentations  such  as  assail  one's  ears  in  a  hospital  con- 
stantly arise.  In  the  depths  of  the  tenth  pit,  into  which 
he  now  peers,  Dante  distinguishes  victims  of  all  manners 
of  diseases,  and  learns  these  are  the  alchemists  and  forgers 
undergoing  the  penalty  of  their  sins.  Among  them  Dante 
perceives  a  man  who  was  buried  alive  on  earth  for  offering 


156  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

to  teach  mortals  to  fly !  So  preposterous  did  such  a  claim 
appear  to  Miaoa — ^judge  of  the  dead — ^that  he  ruthlessly 
condemned  its  originator  to  undergo  the  punishment 
awarded  to  magicians,  alchemists,  and  other  pretenders. 

Ccmto  XXX.  Virgil  now  points  out  to  Dante  sundry 
impostors,  perpetrators  of  fraud,  and  false-coiners,  among 
whom  we  note  the  woman  who  falsely  accused  Joseph,  and 
Sinon,  who  persuaded  the  Trojans  to  convey  the  wooden 
horse  into  their  city.  Not  content  with  the  tortures  in- 
flicted upon  them,  these  criminals  further  increase  each 
others'  sufferings  hy  cruel  taunts,  and  Dante,  fascinated  by 
what  he  sees,  lingers  beside  this  pit,  until  Virgil  cuttingly 
intimates  "to  hear  such  wrangling  is  a  joy  for  vulgar 
minds." 

Canto  XXXI.  Touched  by  the  remorseful  shame  which 
Dante  now  shows,  Virgil  draws  him  on  until  they  are 
almost  deafened  by  a  louder  blast  than  was  uttered  by 
Roland's  horn  at  Roncevaux.  Peering  in  the  direction  of 
the  sound,  Dante  descries  what  he  takes  for  lofty  towers, 
until  Virgil  informs  him  that  when  they  draw  nearer  still 
he  will  discover  they  are  giants  standing  in  the  lowest  pit 
but  looming  far  above  it  in  the  mist.  Ere  long  Dante  stares 
in  wonder  at  chained  giants  seventy  feet  tall,  whom  Virgil 
designates  as  Nimrod,  Ephialtes,  and  Antaeus. 

As  with  circling  round 
Of  turrets,  Monter^gion  crowns  his  walls; 
E'en  thus  the  shore,  encompassing  the  abyss, 
Was  turreted  with  giants,  half  their  length 
Uprearing,  horrible,  whom  Jove  from  heaven 
Yet  threatens,  when  his  muttering  thunder  rolls 

Antaeus  being  unchained,  Virgil  persuades  him  to  lift 
them  both  down  in  the  hollow  of  his  hands  to  the  next 
level,  "where  guilt  is  at  its  depth."  Although  Dante's 
terror  in  the  giant's  grip  is  almost  overwhelming,  he  is 
relieved  when  his  feet  touch  the  ground  once  more,  and 
he  watches  with  awe  as  the  giant  straightens  up  again  like 
the  mast  of  a  huge  ship. 


DIVINE  COMEDY  167 

"  Yet  in  the  abyss. 
That  Lucifer  with  Judas  low  ingulfs, 
Lightly  he  placed  us;  nor,  there  leaning,  stay'd; 
But  rose,  as  in  a  barque  the  stately  mast" 

Canto  XXXII.  Confessing  that  it  is  no  easy  task  to 
describe  the  bottom  of  the  universe  which  he  has  now 
reached,  Dante  relates  how  perpendicular  rocks  reached 
up  on  all  sides  as  far  as  he  could  see.  He  is  gazing  upward 
in  silent  wonder,  when  Virgil  suddenly  cautions  him  to 
beware  lest  he  tread  upon  some  unfortunate.  Gazing  down 
at  his  feet,  Dante  then  becomes  aware  that  he  is  standing 
on  a  frozen  lake,  wherein  stick  fast  innumerable  sinners, 
whose  heads  alone  emerge,  cased  in  ice  owing  to  the  tears 
constantly  flowing  down  their  cheeks. 

Seeing  two  so  close  together  that  their  very  hair  seems 
to  mingle,  Dante,  on  inquiring,  learns  they  are  two  brothers 
who  slew  each  other  in  an  inheritance  quarrel,  for  this  is 
Caina,  the  region  where  the  worst  murderers  are  punished, 
and,  like  every  other  part  of  the  Inferno,  it  is  crowded 
with  figures. 

"A  thousand  visages 
Then  mark'd  I,  which  the  keen  and  eager  cold 
Had  shaped  into  a  doggish  grin;  whence  creeps 
A  shivering  horror  o'er  me,  at  the  thought 
Of  those  frore  shallows." 

It  happens  that,  while  following  his  guide  over  the 
ice,  Dante's  foot  strikes  a  projecting  head.  Permission 
being  granted  bim  to  question  its  owner,  Dante,  because  he 
at  first  refuses  to  speak,  threatens  to  pull  every  hair  out 
of  his  head,  and  actually  gives  him  a  few  hard  tugs.  Then 
the  man  admits  he  is  a  traitor  and  that  there  are  many 
others  of  his  ilk  in  Antenora,  the  second  division  of  the 
lowest  circle. 

Canto  XXXIII.  Beholding  another  culprit  greedily 
gnawing  the  head  of  a  companion,  Dante  learns  that  while 
on  earth  this  culprit  was  Count  Ugolino  de'GherardeBchi, 
whom  his  political  opponents,  headed  by  the  Archbishop 
Ruggiero,  seized  by  treachery  and  locked  up  in  the  Famine- 
tower  at  Pisa,  with  two  sons  and  two  grandsons.    Ugolino 


158  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

feelingly  describes  his  horror  when  one  momiag  he  heard 
them  nail  up  the  door  of  the  prison,  and  realized  he  and 
his  were  doomed  to  starve !  Not  a  word  did  the  prisoners 
exchange  regarding  their  fate,  although  all  were  aware 
of  the  suffering  awaiting  them.  At  the  end  of  twenty-four 
hours,  beholding  traces  of  hunger  in  the  beloved  faces  of 
his  children,  Ugolino  gnawed  his  fists  in  pain.  One  of  his 
grandsons,  interpreting  this  as  a  sign  of  unbearable  hunger, 
then  suggested  that  he  eat  one  of  them,  whereupon  he 
realized  how  needful  it  was  to  exercise  self -control  if  he 
did  not  wish  to  increase  the  sufferings  of  the  rest.  Ugolino 
then  describes  how  they  daily  grew  weaker,  until  his  grand- 
sons died  at  the  end  of  the  fourth  day,  vainly  begging  him 
to  help  them.  Then  his  sons  passed  away,  and,  groping 
blindly  among  the  dead,  he  lingered  on,  until,  famine  be- 
coming more  potent  than  anything  else,  he  yielded  to  its 
demands.  Having  finished  this  grewsome  tale,  Ugolino 
continued  his  feast  upon  the  head  of  his  foe ! 

"  Thus  having  spoke, 
Once  more  upon  the  wretched  skull  his  teeth 
He  fasten'd  like  a  mastiff's  'gainst  the  bone, 
Firm  and  unyielding." 

Dante,  passing  on,  discovers  many  other  victims  en- 
cased in  the  ice,  and  is  so  chiUed  by  a  glacial  breeze  that 
his  face  muscles  stiffen.  He  is  about  to  ask  Virgil  whence 
this  wind  proceeds,  when  one  of  the  ice-encrusted  victims 
implores  him  to  remove  its  hard  mask  from  his  face.  Prom- 
ising to  do  so  in  return  for  the  man's  story,  Dante  learns 
he  is  a  friar  who,  in  order  to  rid  himself  of  inconvenient 
kinsmen,  invited  them  all  to  dinner,  where  he  suddenly 
uttered  the  fatal  words  which  served  as  a  signal  for  hidden 
assassins  to  despatch  them.  When  Dante  indignantly  ex- 
claims the  perpetrator  of  this  heinous  deed  is  on  earth, 
the  criminal  admits  that,  although  his  shadow  still  lingers 
above  ground,  his  soul  is  down  here  in  Ptolomea,  under- 
going the  penalty  for  his  sins.  Hearing  this,  Dante  refuses 
to  clear  away  the  ice,  and  excuses  himself  to  his  readers 
by  stating  "ill  manners  were  best  courtesy  to  him." 


DIVINE  COMEDY  159 

Canto  XXXIV.  Virgil  now  directs  Dante's  glance 
ahead,  until  our  poet  dimly  descries  what  looks  like,  an 
immense  windmill.  Placing  Dante  behind  him  to  shield 
him  a  little  from  the  cruel  blast,  Virgil  leads  him  past 
countless  culprits,  declaring  they  have  reached  Judecca,  a 
place  where  it  behooves  bim  to  arm  his  heart  with  strength. 
So  stiff  with  cold  that  he  is  hovering  between  life  and 
death,  Dante  now  beholds  Dis  or  Satan, — Emperor  of  the 
Infernal  Eegions, — sunk  in  ice  down  to  his  waist,  and  dis- 
covers that  the  wind  is  caused  by  the  constant  flutter  of  his 
bat-like  wings.  He  also  perceives  that  Satan  is  as  much 
larger  than  the  giants  just  seen,  as  they  surpass  mankind, 
and  states  that,  were  the  father  of  evil  as  fair  as  he  is  foul, 
one  might  understand  his  daring  to  defy  God. 

"  If  he  were  beautiful 
As  he  Is  hideous  now,  and  yet  did  dare 
To  scowl  upon  his  Maker,  well  from  him 
May  all  our  misery  flow." 

Then  Dante  describes  Satan's  three  heads,  one  red,  one 
yellow  and  white,  and  one  green,  declaring  that  the  arch- 
fiend munches  in  each  mouth  the  sinners  Judas,  Cassius, 
and  Brutus.  After  allowing  Dante  to  gaze  a  while  at  this 
appalling  sight,  Virgil  informs  his  charge  that,  having  seen 
all,  it  behooves  them  to  depart.  With  a  brief  order  to 
Dante  to  cling  tightly  around  his  neck,  Virgil,  seizing  a 
moment  when  Satan's  wings  are  raised,  darts  beneath  them, 
and  clutching  the  demon 's  shaggy  sides  painfully  descends 
toward  the  centre  of  the  earth.  Down,  down  they  go  until 
they  reach  the  evil  spirit's  thighs,  where,  the  centre  of 
earth's  gravity  being  reached,  Virgil  suddenly  turns  around 
and  begins  an  upward  climb  with  his  burden.  Although 
Dante  fully  expects  soon  to  behold  Satan's  head  once  more, 
he  is  amazed  to  discover  they  are  climbing  up  his  leg. 
Then,  through  a  chimney-like  ascent,  where  the  climbing 
demands  all  their  strength,  Dante  and  Virgil  ascend  toward 
the  upper  air. 

Explaining  they  are  about  to  emerge  at  the  antipodes 


160  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

of  the  spot  where  they  entered  Hades,  where  they  will 
behold  the  great  Western  Sea,  Virgil  adds  they  will  find  in 
its  centre  the  Mount  of  Purgatory,  constructed  of  the 
earth  displaced  by  Satan's  fall.  Thus,  Dante  and  his  leader 
return  to  the  bright  world,  and,  issuing  from  the  dark  pas- 
sage in  which  they  have  been  travelling,  once  more  behold 
the  stars! 

"  By  that  hidden  way 
My  guide  and  I  did  enter,  to  return 
To  the  fair  world:  and  heedless  of  repose 
We  climb'd,  he  first,  I  following  his  steps, 
Till  on  our  view  the  beautiful  lights  of  heaven 
Dawn'd  through  a  circular  opening  in  the  cave: 
Thence  issuing  we  again  beheld  the  stars." 

PURGATORY 

Canto  I.  About  to  sing  of  a  region  where  htunaa  spirits 
are  purged  of  their  sins  and  prepared  to  enter  heaven, 
Dante  invokes  the  aid  of  the  muses.  Then,  gazing  about 
him,  he  diseovera  he  is  in  an  atmosphere  of  sapphire  hue, 
all  the  more  lovely  because  of  the  contrast  with  the  infernal 
gloom  whence  he  has  just  emerged.  It  is  just  before  dawn, 
and  he  beholds  with  awe  four  bright  stars, — ^the  Southern 
Cross, — ^which  symbolize  the  four  cardinal  virtues  (Pru- 
dence, Justice,  Fortitude,  and  Temperance). 

After  contemplating  these  stars  awhile,  Dante,  turning 
to  the  north  to  get  his  bearings,  perceives  Virgil  has  been 
joined  in  this  ante-purgatorial  region  by  Cato,  who  wonder- 
ingly  inquires  how  they  escaped  "the  eternal  prison-house." 

Virgil's  gesture  and  example  have  meantime  forced 
Dante  to  his  knees,  so  it  is  in  this  position  that  the  Latin 
poet  explains  how  a  lady  in  heaven  bade  him  rescue  Dante 
— ^before  it  was  too  late — ^by  guiding  him  through  hell  and 
showing  him  how  sinners  are  cleansed  in  Purgatory.  The 
latter  part  of  Virgil's  task  can,  however,  be  accomplished 
only  if  Cato  will  allow  them  to  enter  the  realm  which  he 
guards.  Moved  by  so  eloquent  a  plea,  Cato  directs  Virgil 
to  wash  all  traces  of  tears  and  of  infernal  mirk  from  Dante's 


DIVINE  COMEDY  161 

face,  girdle  him  with  a  reed  in  token  of  humility,  and  then 
ascend  the  Mount  of  Purgatory, — formed  of  the  earthy 
core  ejected  from  Hades, — ^which  he  points  out  in  the  mid- 
dle of  a  lake  with  reedy  shores. 

Leading  his  charge  in  the  early  dawn  across  a  meadow, 
Virgil  draws  his  hands  first  through  the  dewy  grass  and 
then  over  Dante 's  face,  and,  having  thus  removed  'all  visible 
traces  of  the  passage  through  Hades,  takes  him  down  to  the 
shore  to  girdle  him  with  a  pliant  reed,  the  emblem  of 
humility. 

Canto  II.  Against  the  whitening  east  they  now  behold  a 
ghostly  vessel  advancing  toward  them,  and  when  it  ap- 
proaches near  enough  they  descry  an  angel  standing  at  its 
prow,  his  outspread  wings  serving  as  sails.  While  Dante 
again  sinks  upon  his  knees,  he  hears,  faintly  at  first,  the 
passengers  in  the  boat  staging  the  psalm  "When  Israel 
went  out  of  Egypt." 

Making  a  sign  of  the  cross  upon  each  passenger's  brow, 
the  angel  allows  his  charges  to  land,  and  vanishes  at  sun- 
rise, just  as  the  new-comers,  turning  to  Virgil,  humbly  in- 
quire the  way  to  the  mountain.  Virgil  rejoins  that  he 
too  is  a  recent  arrival,  although  he  and  his  companion 
travelled  a  far  harder  road  than  theirs.  His  words  mak- 
ing them  aware  of  the  fact  that  Dante  is  a  living  man, 
the  spirits  crowd  around  him,  eager  to  touch  him.  Among 
them  he  recognizes  the  musician  Casella,  his  friend. 
Unable  to.  embrace  a  spirit, — although  he  tries  to  do  so, — 
Dante,  after  explaining  his  own  presence  here,  begs  Casella 
to  comfort  all  present  by  singing  of  love.  Just  as  this 
strain  ends,  Cato  reappears,  urging  them  to  hasten  to  the 
mountain  and  there  cast  aside  the  scales  which  conceal 
God  from  their  eyes.  At  these  words  all  the  souls  present 
scatter  like  a  covey  of  pigeons,  and  begin  ascending  the 
mountain,  whither  Virgil  and  Dante  slowly  follow  them. 

"  As  a  wild  flock  of  pigeons,  to  their  food 
Collected,  blade  or  tares,  without  their  pride 
Accustomed,  and  in  still  and  quiet  sort. 
If  aught  alarm  them,  suddenly  desert 
11 


162  THE  BOOK  OP  THE  EPIC 

Their  meal,  assail'd  by  more  important  care; 
So  I  that  new-come  troop  beheld,  the  song 
Deserting,  hasten  to  the  mountain's  side. 
As  one  who  goes,  yet,  where  he  tends,  knows  not." 

Canto  III.  While  painfully  ascending  the  steep  slope, 
Dante,  seeing  only  his  own  shadow  lengthening  out  before 
him,  fears  his  guide  has  abandoned  him,  and  is  relieved  to 
see  Virgil  close  behind  him  and  to  hear  him  explain  that 
disembodied  spirits  cast  no  shadow.  While  they  are  talk- 
ing, they  reach  the  foot  of  the  mountain  and  are  daunted 
by  its  steep  and  rocky  sides.  They  are  vainly  searching 
for  some  crevice  whereby  they  may  hope  to  ascend,  when 
they  behold  a  slowly  advancing  procession  of  white-robed 
figures,  from  whom  Virgil  humbly  inquires  the  way. 

"  As  sheep,  that  step  from  forth  their  fold,  by  one. 
Or  pairs,  or  three  at  once;  meanwhile  the  rest 
Stand  fearfully,  bending  the  eye  and  nose 
To  ground,  and  what  the  foremost  does,  that  do 
The  others,  gathering  round  her  if  she  stops. 
Simple  and  quiet,  nor  the  cause  discern; 
So  saw  I  moving  to  advance  the  first. 
Who  of  the  fortunate  crew  were  at  the  head. 
Of  modest  mien,  and  graceful  in  their  gait. 
When  they  before  me  had  beheld  the  light 
From  my  right  side  fall  broken  on  the  ground. 
So  that  the  shadow  reach'd  the  cave;  they  stopp'd. 
And  somewhat  back  retired:  the  same  did  all 
Who  follow'd,  though  unwitting  of  the  cause." 

These  spirits  too  are  startled  at  the  sight  of  a  living 
being,  but,  when  Virgil  assures  them  Dante  is  not  here 
without  warrant,  they  obligingly  point  out  "the  straight 
and  narrow  way"  which  serves  as  entrance  to  Purgatory. 
This  done,  one  spirit,  detaching  itself  from  the  rest,  in- 
quires whether  Dante  does  not  remember  Manfred,  King  of 
Naples  and  Sicily,  and  whether  he  will  not,  on  his  return 
to  earth,  inform  the  princess  that  her  father  repented  of 
his  sins  at  the  moment  of  death  and  now  bespeaks  her 
prayers  to  shorten  his  time  of  probation. 

Canto  IV.  Dazed  by  what  he  has  just  seen  and  heard, 
Dante  becomes  conscious  of  his  surroundings  once  more, 


DIVINE  COMEDY  163 

only  when  the  sun  stands  considerably  higher,  and  when 
he  has  arrived  at  the  foot  of  a  rocky  pathway,  up  which 
he  painfully  follows  Virgil,  helping  himself  with  his 
hands  as  well  as  his  feet.  Arrived  at  its  top,  both  gaze 
wonderingly  around  them,  and  perceive  by  the  position 
of  the  sun  that  they  must  be  at  the  antipodes  of  Florence, 
where  their  journey  began.  Panting  with  the  exertions 
he  has  just  made,  Dante  expresses  some  fear  lest  his 
strength  may  fail  him,  whereupon  Virgil  kindly  assures 
him  the  way,  so  arduous  at  first,  will  become  easier  and 
easier  the  higher  they  ascend. 

Just  then  a  voice,  addressing  them,  advises  them  to 
rest,  and  Dante,  turning,  perceives,  among  other  spirits, 
a  sitting  figure,  in  whom  he  recognizes  a  friend  noted  for 
his  laziness.  On  questioning  this  spirit,  Dsmte  learns  that 
this  friend,  Belacqua,  instead  of  exerting  himself  to  elimb 
the  mount  of  Purgatory,  is  idly  waiting  in  hopes  of  being 
wafted  upward  by  the  prayers  of  some  "heart  which 
lives  in  grace."  Such  slothfulness  irritates  Virgil,  who 
hurries  Dante  on,  warning  him  the  sun  has  already  reached 
its  meridian  and  night  will  all  too  soon  overtake  them. 

Canto  v.  Heedless  of  the  whispered  comments  behind 
him  because  he  is  opaque  and  not  transparent  like  the 
other  spirits,  Dante  follows  Virgil,  until  they  Overtake  a 
band  of  spirits  chanting  the  Miserere.  These  too  seem 
surprised  at  Dante's  density,  and,  when  assured  he  is 
alive,  eagerly  inquire  whether  he  can  give  them  any  tidings 
of  friends  and  families  left  on  earth.  Although  all  present 
are  sinners  who  died  violent  deaths,  as  they  repented  at 
the  last  minute  they  are  not  whoUy  excluded  from  hope 
of  bliss.  Unable  to  recognize  any  of  these,  Dante  never- 
theless listens  to  their  descriptions  of  their  violent  ends, 
and  promises  to  enlighten  their  friends  and  kinsmen  in 
regard  to  their  fate. 

Ccmto  VI.  Because  Virgil  moves  on,  Dante  feels  con- 
strained to  follow,  although  the  spirits  continue  to  pluck 
at  his  mantle,  imploring  him  to  hear  what  they  have  to 
say.    Touched  by  the  sorrows  of  men  of  his  own  time  or 


164  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

famous  in  history,  Dante  wistfully  asks  his  guide  whether 
prayers  can  ever  change  Heaven's  decrees,  and  learns 
that  true  love  can  work  miracles,  as  he  will  perceive  when 
he  beholds  Beatrice.  The  hope  of  meeting  his  beloved  face 
to  face  causes  Dante  to  urge  his  guide  to  greater  speed 
and  almost  gives  wings  to  his  feet.  Presently  Virgil  directs 
his  companion's  attention  to  a  spirit  standing  apart,  in 
whom  Dante  recognizes  the  poet  Sordello,  who  mourns 
because  Mantua — ^his  native  city  as  well  as  Virgil's — drifts 
in  these  political  upheavals  like  a  pilotless  vessel  in  the 
midst  of  a  storm. 

Canto  VII.  Virgil  now  informs  Sordello  that  he,  Virgil, 
is  debarred  from  all  hope  of  heaven  through  lack  of  faith. 
Thereupon  Sordello  reverently  approaches  him,  calling  him 
"Glory  of  Latium,"  and  inquiring  whence  he  comes.  Virgil 
explains  how,  led  by  heavenly  influence,  he  left  the  dim 
limbo  of  ante-heU,  passed  through  all  the  stages  of  the 
Inferno,  and  is  now  seeking  the  place  "Where  Purgatory 
its  true  beginning  takes."  Sordello  rejoins  that,  while  he 
will  gladly  serve  as  guide,  the  day  is  already  so  far  gone 
that  they  had  better  spend  the  night  in  a  neighboring  dell. 
He  then  leads  Virgil  and  Dante  to  a  hollow,  where,  rest- 
ing upon  fragrant  flowers,  they  prepare  to  spend  the  night, 
with  a  company  of  spirits  who  chant  "Salve  Regina." 
Among  these  the  new-comers  recognize  with  surprise  sundry 
renowned  monarchs,  whose  doings  are  briefly  described. 

Canto  VIII.  Meantime  the  hour  of  rest  has  come,  the 
hour  described  by  the  poet  as — 

Now  was  the  hour  that  wakens  fond  desire 
In  men  at  sea.,  and  melts  their  thoughtful  heart 
Who  in  the  morn  have  bid  sweet  friends  farewell, 
And  pilgrim  newly  on  his  road  with  love 
Thrills,  if  he  hear  the  vesper  bell  from  far 
That  seems  to  mourn  for  the  expiring  day. 

Dante  and  Virgil  then  witness  the  evening  devotions  of 
these  spirits,  which  conclude  with  a  hymn  so  soft,  so 
devout,  that  their  senses  are  lost  in  ravishment.  When  it 
has  ended,  the  spirits  all  gaze  expectantly  upward,  and 


DIVINE  COMEDY  165 

soon  behold  two  green-clad  angels,  with  flaming  swords, 
who  alight  on  eminences  at  either  end  of  the  glade.  These 
heavenly  warriors  are  sent  by  Mary  to  mount  guard  dur- 
ing the  hours  of  darkness  so  as  to  prevent  the  serpent  from 
gliding  unseen  into  their  miniature  Eden.  Still  led  by 
Sordello,  the  poets  withdraw  to  a  leafy  recess,  where  Dante 
discovers  a  friend  whom  he  had  cause  to  believe  detained 
in  hell.  This  spirit  explains  he  is  not  indeed  languish- 
ing there  simply  because  of  the  prayers  of  his  daughter 
Giovanna,  who  has  not  forgotten  him  although  his  wife  has 
married  again. 

Dante  is  just  gazing  with  admiration  at  three  stars 
(symbols  of  Faith,  Hope,  and  Charity),  when  Sordello 
suddenly  points  out  the  serpent,  who  is  no  sooner  descried 
by  the  angels  than  they  swoop  down  and  put  him  to  flight. 

"  I  saw  not,  nor  can  tell, 
How  those  celestial  falcons  from  their  seat 
Moved,  but  in  motion  each  one  well  descried. 
Hearing  the  air  cut  by  their  verdant  plumes. 
The  serpent  fled;  and,  to  their  stations,  back 
The  angels  up  retum'd  with  equal  flight." 

Canto  IX.  Dante  falls  asleep  in  this  valley,  but,  just  as 
the  first  gleams  of  Hght  appear,  he  is  favored  by  a  vision, 
wherein — like  Ganymede — ^he  is  borne  by  a  golden-feathered 
eagle  into  a  glowing  fire  where  both  are  consumed.  Waken- 
ing with  a  start  from  this  disquieting  dream,  Dante  finds 
himself  in  a  different  spot,  with  no  companion  save  Virgil, 
and  notes  the  sun  is  at  least  two  hours  high. 

Virgil  now  assures  him  that,  thanks  to  Santa  Lucia 
(type  of  God's  grace),  he  has  in  sleep  been  conveyed  to 
the  very  entrance  of  Purgatory.  Gazing  at  the  high  cliffs 
which  encircle  the  mountain,  Dante  now  perceives  a  deep 
cleft,  through  which  he  and  Virgil  arrive  at  a  vast 
portal  (the  gate  of  penitence),  to  which  three  huge  steps 
of  varying  color  and  size  afford  access.  At  the  top  of 
these  steps,  on  a  diamond  threshold,  sits  the  Angel  of  Abso- 
lution with  his  flashing  sword.  Challenged  by  this  warder, 
Virgil  explains  that  they  have  been  guided  hither  by  Santa 


166  THE  BOOK  OP  THE  EPIC 

Lucia,  at  whose  name  the  angel  bids  them  draw  near.  Up 
a  polished  step  of  white  marble  -(which  typifies  sincerity), 
a  dark  step  of  cracked  stone  (symbol  of  contrition),  and 
one  of  red  porphyry  (emblem  of  self-sacrifice),  Dante 
arrives  at  the  angel's  feet  and  humbly  begs  him  to  unbar 
the  door.  In  reply  the  angel  inscribes  upon  the  poet's  brow, 
by  means  of  his  sword,  seven  P's,  to  represent  the  seven 
deadly  sins  (in  Italian  peccata),  of  which  mortals  must  be 
purged  ere  they  can  enter  Paradise. 

After  bidding  Dante  have  these  signs  properly  effaced, 
the  angel  draws  from  beneath  his  ash-hued  mantle  the 
golden  key  of  authority  and  the  silver  key  of  discernment, 
stating  that  when  St.  Peter  entrusted  them  to  his  keeping 
he  bade  him  err  "rather  in  opening  than  in  keeping  fast." 
Then,  the  gate  open,  the  angel  bids  them  enter,  adding 
the  solemn  warning  "he  forth  again  departs  who  looks 
behind." 

Canto  X.  Mindful  of  this  caution,  Dante  does  not  turn, 
although  the  gates  close  with  a  clash  behind  him,  but  fol- 
lows his  guide  along  a  steep  pathway.  It  is  only  after 
painful  exertions  they  reach  the  first  terrace  of  Purgatory, 
or  place  where  the  sin  of  pride  is  punished.  They  now 
pass  along  a  white  marble  cornice, — some  eighteen  feet 
wide, — ^whose  walls  are  decorated  with  sculptures  which 
would  not  have  shamed  the  best  masters  of  Greek  art. 
Here  are  represented  such  subjects  as  the  Annunciation, 
David  dancing  before  the  Ark,  and  Trajan  granting  the 
petition  of  the  unfortunate  widow.  Proceeding  along  this 
path,  they  soon  see  a  procession  of  spirits  approaching,  all 
bent  almost  double  beneath  huge  burdens.  As  they  creep 
along,  one  or  another  gasps  from  time  to  time, ' '  I  can  endure 
no  more." 

Canto  XI.  The  oppressed  spirits  fervently  pray  for 
aid  and  forgiveness,  while  continuing  their  weary  tramp 
"around  this  cornice,  where  they  do  penance  for  undue 
pride.  Praying  they  may  soon  be  delivered,  Virgil  inqtures 
of  them  where  he  can  find  means  to  ascend  to  the  next  circle, 
and  is  told  to  accompany  the  procession  which  will  soon 


DIVINE  COMEDY  167 

pass  the  place.  The  speaker,  although  unable  to  raise  his 
head,  confesses  his  arrogance  while  on  earth  so  incensed 
his  feUow-creatures  that  they  finally  rose  up  against  him 
and  murdered  him.  Stooping  so  as  to  catch  a  glimpse  of 
the  bent  face,  Dante  realizes  he  is  talking  to  a  miniature 
painter  who  claimed  to  be  without  equal,  and  therefore  has 
to  do  penance. 

The  noise 
Of  worldly  fame  is  but  a  blast  of  wind. 
That  blows  from  diverse  points,  and  shifts  its  name. 
Shifting  the  point  it  blows  from. 

Canto  XII.  Journeying  beside  the  bowed  painter  (who 
names  some  of  his  fellow-sufferers),  Dante's  attention  is 
directed  by  Virgil  to  the  pavement  beneath  his  feet,  where 
he  sees  carved  Briareus,  Nimrod,  Niobe,  Arachne,  Saul,  etc., 
— ^in  short,  all  those  who  dared  measure  themselves  with 
the  gods  or  who  cherished  overweening  opinions  of  their 
attainments.  So  absorbed  is  Dante  in  contemplation  of 
these  subjects  that  he  starts  when  told  an  angel  is  coming 
to  meet  them,  who,  if  entreated  with  sufficient  humility, 
will  doubtless  help  them  reach  the  next  level. 

The  radiant-faced  angel,  robed  in  dazzling  white,  in- 
stead of  waiting  to  be  implored  to  help  the  travellers, 
graciously  points  out  steps  where  the  rocks  are  sundered 
by  a  cleft,  and,  when  Dante  obediently  climbs  past  him,  a 
soft  touch  from  his  wings  brushes  away  the  P.  which  stands 
for  pride,  and  thus  frees  our  poet  of  all  trace  of  this  heinous 
sin.  But  it  is  only  on  reaching  the  top  of  the  stairway 
that  Dante  becomes  aware  of  this  fact. 

Canto  XIII.  The  second  ledge  of  purgatory,  which  they 
have  now  reached,  is  faced  with  plain  gray  stone,  and 
Virgil  leads  his  companion  a  full  mile  along  it  ere  they 
become  aware  of  a  flight  of  invisible  spirits,  some  of  whom 
chant  "They  have  no  wine!"  while  the  others  respond 
"Love  ye  those  who  have  wrong 'd  you."  These  are  those 
who,  having  sinned  through  envy,  can  be  freed  only  by 
the  exercise  of  charity.    Then,  bidding  Dante  gaze  fixedly, 


168  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Virgil  points  out  this  shadowy  host,  clothed  in  sackcloth, 
sitting  back  against  the  rocks,  and  Dante  takes  particular 
note  of  two  figures  supporting  each  other.  He  next  dis- 
covers that  one  and  all  of  these  victims  have  their  eyeUds 
sewn  so  tightly  together  with  wire  that  passage  is  left  only 
for  streams  of  penitential  tears. 

When  allowed  to  address  them,  Dante,  hoping  to  com- 
fort them,  offers  to  bear  back  to  earth  any  message  they  wish 
to  send.  It  is  then  that  one  of  these  spirits  informs  Dante 
that  on  earth  she  was  Sapia,  a  learned  Siennese,  who,  hav- 
ing rejoiced  when  her  country  was  defeated,  is  obliged  to 
do  penance  for  heartlessness.  Marvelliug  that  any  one 
should  wander  among  them  with  eyes  unclosed,  she  in- 
quires by  what  means  Dante  has  come  here,  bespeaks  his 
prayers,  and  implores  him  to  warn  her  countrymen  not  to 
cherish  vain  hopes  of  greatness  or  to  sin  through  envy. 

Canto  XIY.  The  two  spirits  leaning  close  together,  in 
their  turn  question  who  Virgil  and  Dante  may  be?  When 
they  hear  mention  of  Rome  and  Florence,  they  hotly  in- 
veigh against  the  degeneracy  of  dwellers  on  the  banks  of 
the  Tiber  and  Arno. 

Shortly  after  leaving  this  place  with  his  guide,  Dante 
hears  the  wail:  "Whosoever  finds  will  slay  me,"  a  cry 
followed  by  a  deafening  crash. 

Canto  XV.  Circling  round  the  mountain,  always  in 
the  same  direction,  Dante  notes  the  sun  is  about  to  set, 
when  another  dazzling  angel  invites  them  up  to  the  next 
level, — ^where  anger  is  punished, — ^by  means  of  a  stairway 
less  steep  than  any  of  the  preceding.  As  they  climb,  the 
angel  softly  chants  "Blessed  the  merciful"  and  "Happy 
thou  that  conquer 'st,"  while  he  brushes  aside  the  second 
P.,  and  thus  cleanses  Dante  from  envy.  But,  when  Dante 
craves  an  explanation  of  what  he  has  heard  and  seen,  Virgil 
assures  him  that  only  when  the  five  remaining  "sears" 
have  vanished  from  his  brow,  Beatrice  herself  can  satisfy 
his  curiosity. 

On  reaching  the  third  level,  they  find  themselves  en- 
veloped in  a  dense  fog,  through  which  Dante  dimly  beholds 


DIVINE  COMEDY  169 

the  twelve-year-old  Christ  in  the  Temple  and  overhears  his 
mother  chiding  him.  Next  he  sees  a  woman  weeping,  and 
lastly  Stephen  stoned  to  death. 

Canto  XVI.  Urged  by  his  guide  to  hasten  through  this 
bitter  blinding  fog — a  symbol  of  anger  which  is  punished 
here — Dante  stumbles  along,  mindful  of  Virgil's  caution, 
"Look  that  from  me  thou  part  not."  Meanwhile  voices 
on  all  sides  invoke  "the  Lamb  of  God  that  taketh  away 
the  sins  of  the  world."  Then,  all  at  once,  a  voice  addresses 
Dante,  who,  prompted  by  Virgil,  inquires  where  the  next 
stairway  may  be?  His  interlocutor,  after  bespeaking 
Dante's  prayers,  holds  forth  against  Rome,  which,  boasting 
of  two  suns, — the  pope  and  the  emperor, — ^has  seen  the  one 
quench  the  other.  But  the  arrival  of  an  angel,  sent  to 
guide  our  travellers  to  the  next  level,  soon  ends  this  con- 
versation. 

Canto  XVII.  Out  of  the  vapors  of  anger — as  dense 
as  any  Alpine  fog — Dante,  who  has  caught  glimpses  of 
famous  victims  of  anger,  such  as  Haman  and  Lavinia, 
emerges  with  Virgil,  only  to  be  dazzled  by  the  glorious 
light  of  the  sun.  Then,  climbing  the  ladder  the  angel 
points  out,  Dante  feels  him  brush  away  the  third  obnoxious 
P.,  while  chanting,  "Blessed  are  the  peacemakers."  They 
now  reach  the  fourth  ledge,  where  the  sin  of  indifference 
or  sloth  is  punished,  and,  as  they  trudge  along  it,  Virgil 
explains  that  all  indifference  is  due  to  a  lack  of  love,  a 
virtue  on  which  he  eloquently  discourses. 

Canto  XVIII.  A  multitude  of  spirits  now  interrupt 
Virgil,  and,  when  he  questions  them,  two,  who  lead  the 
rest,  volubly  quote  examples  of  fervent  affection  and  zealous 
haste.  They  are  closely  followed  by  other  spirits,  the 
backsliders,  who,  not  having  had  the  strength  or  patience  to 
endure,  preferred  inglorious  ease  to  adventurous  life  and 
are  now  consumed  with  regret. 

Canto  XIX.  In  the  midst  of  a  trance  which  overtakes 
him,  Dante  next  has  a  vision  of  the  Siren  which  beguiled 
Ulysses  and  of  Philosophy  or  Truth.  Then,  morning  hav- 
ing dawned,  Virgil  leads  him  to  the  next  stairway,  up  which 


170  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

an  angel  wafts  them,  chanting  "Blessed  are  they  that 
mourn,  for  they  shall  be  comforted,"  while  he  brushes 
away  another  sin  scar  from  our  poet's  forehead. 

In  this  fifth  circle  those  guilty  of  avarice  under^ 
punishment  by  being  chained  fast  to  the  earth  to  which  they 
clung,  and  which  they  bedew  with  penitent  tears.  One  of 
these,  questioned  by  Dante,  reveals  he  was  Pope  Adrian  V., 
who,  dying  a  month  after  his  elevation  to  the  papal  chair, 
repented  in  time  of  his  grasping  past.  When  Dante  kneels 
compassionately  beside  this  august  sufferer,  he  is  implored 
to  warn  the  pope's  kinswoman  to  eschew  the  besetting  sin 
of  their  house. 

Canto  XX.  A  little  further  on,  among  the  grovelling 
figures  which  closely  pave  this  fifth  cornice,  Dante  beholds 
Hugues  Capet,  founder  of  the  third  dynasty  of  French 
kings,  and  stigmatized  as  "  root  of  that  ill  plant,"  because 
this  poem  was  composed  only  a  few  years  after  Philip  IV 's 
criminal  attempt  against  Pope  Boniface  at  Agnani.  The 
poets  also  recognize  there  Pygmalion  (brother  of  Dido), 
Midas,  Achan,  Heliodorus,  and  Crassus,^  ere  they  are 
startled  by  feeling  the  whole  mountain  tremble  beneath 
them  and  by  hearing  the  spirits  exultantly  cry  "Glory  to 
God!" 

Canio  XXI.  Clinging  to  Virgil  in  speechless  terror, 
Dante  hears  his  guide  assure  the  spirit  which  suddenly 
appears  before  them  that  the  Pates  have  not  yet  finished 
spinning  the  thread  of  his  companion's  life.  When  ques- 
tioned by  the  travellers  in  regard  to  the  noise  and  earth- 
quake, this  spirit  informs  them  that  the  mountain  quivers 
with  joy  whenever  a  sinner  is  released,  and  that,  after 
undergoing  a  punishment  of  five  hundred  years,  he — Statiua 
— ^is  now  free  to  go  in  quest  of  his  master  Virgil,  whom  he 
has. always  longed  to  meet.  Dante's  smile  at  these  words, 
together  with  his  meaning  glance  at  Virgil,  suddenly  re- 
veal to  the  spirit  that  his  dearest  wish  is  granted,  and 

'  See  the  author's  "  Story  of  the  Chosen  People,"  and  "  Story 
of  the  Komans." 


DIVINE  COMEDY  171 

Statius  reverently  does  obeisance  to  the  poet  from  whose 
fount  he  drew  his  inspiration. 

Canto  XXII.  The  three  bards  are  next  led  by  an 
angel  up  another  staircase,  to  the  sixth  cornice  (Dante 
losing  another  P.  on  the  way),  where  the  sios  of  gluttony 
and  drunkenness  are  punished.  As  they  circle  around  this 
ledge,  Dante  questions  how  Statius  became  guilty  of  the 
sin  of  covetousness,  for  which  he  was  doomed  to  tramp 
around  the  fifth  circle?  In  reply  Statius  rejoins  that  it 
was  not  because  of  covetousness,  but  of  its  counterpart, 
over-lavishness,  that  he  suffered  so  long,  and  principally 
because  he  was  not  brave  enough  to  own  himself  a  Christian. 
Then  he  inquires  of  Virgil  what  have  become  of  their  fel- 
low-countrymen Terence,  Caecilius,  Plautus,  and  Varro, 
only  to  learn  that  they  too  linger  in  the  dark  regions  of 
ante-hell,  where  they  hold  sweet  converse  with  other  pagan 
poets. 

Reverently  listening  to  the  conversation  of  his  compan- 
ions, Dante  drinks  in  "mysterious  lessons  of  sweet  poesy" 
and  silently  follows  them  until  they  draw  near  a  tree  laden 
with  fruit  and  growing  beside  a  crystal  stream.  Issuing 
from  this  tree  a  voice  warns  them  against  the  sin  of  glut- 
tony— ^which  is  punished  in  this  circle — and  quotes  ^sueh 
marked  examples  of  abstinence  as  Daniel  feeding  on  pulse 
and  John  the  Baptist  living  on  locusts  and  wild  honey. 

Canto  XXIII.  Dante  is  still  dumbly  staring  at  the 
mysterious  tree  when  Virgil  bids  him  follow,  for  they  still 
have  far  to  go.  They  next  meet  weeping,  hollow-eyed 
spirits,  so  emaciated  that  their  bones  start  through  their 
skin.  One  of  these  reec^nizes  Dante,  who  is  aghast  that 
his  friend  Forese  should  be  in  such  a  state  and  escorted  by 
two  skeleton  spirits.  Porese  replies  that  he  and  his  com- 
panions are  consumed  by  endless  hunger  and  thirst, 
although  they  eat  and  drink  without  ever  being  satisfied. 
When  Dante  expresses  surprise  because  a  man  only  five 
years  dead  should  already  be  so  high  up  the  mount  of 
Purgatory,  Forese  explains  that  his  wife's  constant  prayers 
have  successively  freed  him  from  detention  in  the  other 


172  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

circles.  In  return  Dante  states  why  he  is  here  and  names 
his  companions. 

Canto  XXIV.  Escorting  the  three  travellers  on  their 
way,  Forese  inquires  what  has  become  of  his  sister,  Pic- 
earda,  ere  he  points  out  sundry  spirits,  with  whom  Dante 
converses,  and  who  predict  the  coming  downfall  of  his 
political  foes.  But  these  spirits  suddenly  leave  Dante  to 
dart  toward  trees,  which  tantalizingly  withold  their  fruit 
from  their  eager  hands,  while  hidden  voices  loudly  extol 
temperance. 

Canto  XXV.  In  single  file  the  three  poets  continue 
their  tramp,  commenting  on  what  they  have  seen,  and 
Statius  expounds  his  theories  of  life.  Then  they  ascend 
to  the  seventh  ledge,  where  glowing  fires  purge  mortals  of 
all  sensuality.  Even  as  they  toil  toward  this  level,  an 
angel"  voice  extols  chastity,  and  Dante  once  more  feels  the 
light  touch  which  he  now  associates  with  the  removal  of 
one  of  the  scars  made  by  the  angel  at  the  entrance  of 
Purgatory.  Arrived  above,  the  poets  have  to  tread  a  nar- 
row path  between  the  roaring  fires  and  the  abyss.  So 
narrow  is  the  way,  that  Virgil  bids  Dante  beware  or  he 
win  be  lost! 

"  Behoved  us,  one  by  one,  along  the  side, 
That  border'd  on  the  void,  to  pass;   and  I 
Fear'd  on  one  hand  the  fire,  on  the  other  fear'd 
Headlong  to  fall:  when  thus  the  instructor  warn'd; 
'  Strict  rein  must  in  this  place  direct  the  eyes. 
A  little  swerving  and  the  way  is  lost.' " 

As  all  three  warily  proceed,  Dante  hears  voices  in  the 
fiery  furnace  alternately  imploring  the  mercy  of  God  and 
quoting  examples  of  chastity,  such  as  Mary  and  Diana,  and 
couples  who  proved  chaste  though  married. 

Canto  XXVI.  As  the  poets  move  along  the  rim,  Dante 's 
shadow,  cast  upon  the  roaring  flames,  causes  such  wonder 
to  the  victims  undergoing  purification  that  one  of  them  in- 
quires who  he  may  be.  Just  as  Dante  is  about  to  answer, 
his  attention  is  attracted  by  hosts  of  shadows,  who,  after 
exchanging  hasty  kisses,  dash  on,  mentioning  such  famous 


DIVINE  COMEDY  173 

examples  of  dissoluteness  as  Pasiphae,  and  the  men  who 
caused  the  destruction  of  Sodom  and  Gomorrah.  Turning 
to  his  interlocutor,  Dante  then  explains  how  he  came  hither 
and  expresses  a  hope  he  may  soon  be  received  in  bliss.  The 
grateful  spirit  then  gives  his  name,  admits  he  sang  too 
freely  of  carnal  love,  and  adds  that  Dante  would  surely 
recognize  many  of  his-  fellow-sufferers  were  he  to  point 
them  out.  Then,  bespeaking  Dante's  prayers,  he  plunges 
back  into  the  fiery  element  which  is  to  make  him  fit  for 
Paradise. 

Canto  XXYII.  Just  as  the  sun  is  about  to  set,  an  angel 
approaches  them,  chanting  "Blessed  are  the  pure  in  heart," 
and  bids  them  fearlessly  pass  through  the  wall  of  fire  which 
alone  stands  between  them  and  Paradise.  Seeing  Dante 
hang  back  timorously,  Virgil  reminds  him  he  will  find 
Beatrice  on  the  other  side,  whereupon  our  poet  plunges 
recklessly  into  the  glowing  furnace,  where  both  his  com- 
panions precede  him,  and  whence  all  three  issue  on  an  up- 
ward path.  There  they  make  their  couch  on  separate  steps, 
and  Dante  gazes  up  at  the  stars  until  he  falls  asleep  and 
dreams  of  a  lovely  lady,  culling  flowers  in  a  meadow,  sing- 
ing she  is  Lea  (the  mediaeval  type  of  active  life),  and 
stating  that  her  sister  Rachel  (the  emblem  of  contemplative 
life)  spends  the  day  gazing  at  herself  in  a  mirror. 

At  dawn  the  pilgrims  awake,  and  Virgil  assures  Daaate 
before  this  day  ends  his  hunger  for  a  sight  of  Beatrice  will 
be  appeased.  This  prospect  so  lightens  Dante's  heart  that 
he  almost  soars  to  the  top  of  the  stairway.  There  Virgil, 
who  has  led  "him  throngh  temporal  and  eternal  fires,  bids 
bim  follow  his  pleasure,  until  he  meets  the  fair  lady  who 
bade  him  undertake  this  journey. 

"  Till  those  bright  eyes 
With  gladness  come,  whiob,  weeping,  made  me  haite 
To  succor  thee,  thou  mayst  or  seat  thee  dowp, 
Or  wander  where  thou  wilt.    Expect  no  more 
SazLction  of  warning  voice  or  sign  from  me, 
Free  of  thine  own  arbitrament  to  choose. 
Discreet,  judicious.    To  distrust  thy  sense 
Were  henceforth  error.     I  invest  thee  then 
With  crown  and  mitre,  sovereign  o'er  thyself." 


174  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Canto  XXVIII.  Through  the  Garden  of  Eden  Elante 
now  strolls  with  Statins  and  Virgil,  until  he  beholds,  on 
the  other  side  of  a  pellucid  stream  (whose  waters  have  the 
"power  to  take  away  remembrance  of  offence"))  a  beautiful 
lady  (the  countess  Matilda),  who  smiles  upon  him.  Then 
she  informs  Dante  she  has  come  to  "answer  every  doubt" 
he  cherishes,  and,  as  they  wander  along  on  opposite  sides 
of  the  stream,  she  expounds  for  his  benefit  the  creation  of 
man,  the  fall  and  its  consequences,  and  informs  him  how 
all  the  plants  that  grow  on  earth  originate  here.  The  water 
at  his  feet  issues  from  an  unquenchable  fountain,  and 
divides  into  two  streams,  the  first  of  which,  Lethe,  "chases 
from  the  mind  the  memory  of  sin,"  while  the  waters  of 
the  second,  Eunoe,  have  the  power  to  recall  "good  deeds 
to  one's  mind." 

Canto  XXIX.  Suddenly  the  lady  bids  Dante  pause, 
look,  and  hearken.  Then  he  sees  a  great  light  on  the  op- 
posite shore,  hears  a  wonderful  music,  and  soon  beholds  a 
procession  of  spirits,  so  bright  that  they  leave  behind  them 
a  trail  of  rainbow-colored  light.  First  among  them  march 
the  four  and  twenty  elders  of  the  Book  of  Eevelations; 
they  are  followed  by  four  beasts  (the  Evangelists),  and  a 
,gryphon,  drawing  a  chariot  (the  Christian  Church  or 
Papal  chair),  far  grander  than  any  that  ever  graced  im- 
perial triumph  at  Rome.  Personifications  of  the  three 
evangelical  virtues  (Charity,  Faith,  and  Hope)  and  of  the 
four  moral  virtues  (Prudence,  etc.),  together  with  St.  Luke 
and  St.  Paul,  the  four  great  Doctors  of  the  Church,  and 
the  apostle  St.  John,  serve  as  body-guard  for  this  chariot, 
which  comes  to  a  stop  opposite  Dante  with  a  noise  like 
thunder. 

Canto  XXX.  The  wonderful  light,  our  poet  now  per- 
ceives, emanates  from  a  seven-branched  candlestick,  and 
illuminates  all  the  heavens  like  an  aurora  borealis.  Then, 
amid  the  chanting,  and  while  angels  shower  flowers  down 
upon  her,  he  beholds  in  the  chariot  a  lady  veiled  in  white, 
in  whom,  although  transfigured,  he  instinctively  recognizes 
Beatrice  (a  personification  of  Heavenly  Wisdom).    In  his 


DIVINE  COMEDY  175 

surprise  Dante  impulsively  turns  toward  Virgil,  only  to  dis- 
cover that  he  has  vanished! 

Beatrice  comforts  him,  however,  by  promising  to  be  his 
guide  hereafter,  and  gently  reproaches  him  for  the  past 
until  he  casts  shamefaced  glances  at  his  feet.  There,  in 
the  stream  (which  serves  as  nature's  mirror),  he  catches 
a  reflection  of  his  utter  loathsomeness,  and  becomes  so 
penitent,  that  Beatrice  explains  she  purposely  brought  him 
hither  by  the  awful  road  he  has  travelled  to  induce  him  to 
lead  a  changed  life  hereafter. 

Canto  XXXI.  Beatrice  then  accuses  him  of  yielding 
to  the  world's  deceitful  pleasures  after  she  left  him,  and 
explains  how  he  should,  on  the  contrary,  have  striven  to 
be  virtuous  so  as  to  rejoin  her.  When  she  finally  forgives 
him  and  bids  him  gaze  into  her  face  once  more,  he  sees  she 
surpasses  her  former  self  in  loveliness  as  greatly  as  on 
earth  she  outshone  all  other  women.  Dante  is  so  overcome 
by  a  sense  of  his  utter  unworthiness  that  he  falls  down 
unconscious,  and  on  recovering  his  senses  finds  himself  in 
the  stream,  upheld  by  the  hand  of  a  njrmph  (Matilda) ,  who 
sweeps  him  along,  "swift  as  a  shuttle  bounding  o'er  the 
wave,"  while  angels  chant  "Thou  shalt  wash  me"  and  "I 
shall  be  whiter  than  snow." 

Freed  from  all  haunting  memories  of  past  sins  by  Lethe 's 
waters,  Dante  finally  lands  on  the  "  blessed  shore."  There 
Beatrice's  haud-maidens  welcome  him,  and  beseech  her  to 
complete  her  work  by  revealing  her  inner  beauty  to  this 
mortal,  so  he  can  portray  it  for  mankind.  But,  although 
Dante  gazes  at  her  in  breathless  admiration,  words  fail  him 
to  render  what  he  sees. 

"O  splendor! 
O  saered  light  eternal!  who  is  he. 
So  pale  with  musing  in  Pierian  shades. 
Or  with  that  fount  so  lavishly  imbued. 
Whose  spirit  should  not  fail  him  in  the  essay 
To  represent  thee  such  as  thou  didst  seem. 
When  under  cope  of  the  still-chiming  heaven 
Thou  gavest  to  open  air  thy  charms  reveal'd?" 


176  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Canto  XXXII.  Dante  is  still  quenching  a  "ten-years 
thirst"  by  staring  at  his  beloved,  when  her  attendants  ad- 
monish him  to  desist.  But,  although  he  obediently  turns 
aside  his  eyes,  like  a  man  who  has  gazed  too  long  at  the 
sun,  he  sees  her  image  stamped  on  all  he  looks  at.  He  and 
Statins  now  hiunbly  follow  the  glorious  procession,  which 
enters  a  forest  and  circles  gravely  round  a  barren  tree- 
trunk,  to  which  the  chariot  is  tethered.  Immediately  the 
dry  branches  burst  into  bud  and  leaf,  and,  soothed  by 
angelic  music,  Dante  falls  asleep,  only  to  be  favored  by  a 
vision  so  startling,  that  on  awakening  he  eagerly  looks 
around  for  Beatrice.  The  nymph  who  bore  bim  safely 
through  the  waters  then  points  her  out,  resting  beneath 
the  mystic  tree,  and  Beatrice,  rousing  too,  bids  Dante  note 
the  fate  of  her  chariot.  The  poet  then  sees  an  eagle  (the 
Empire),  swoop  down  from  heaven,  tear  the  tree  asunder, 
and  attack  the  Chariot  (the  Church),  into  which  a  fox 
(heresy)  has  sprung  as  if  in  quest  of  prey.  Although  the 
fox  is  soon  routed  by  Beatrice,  the  eagle  makes  its  nest  in 
the  chariot,  beneath  which  arises  a  seven-headed  monster 
(the  seven  capital  sins),  bearing  on  its  back  a  giant,  who 
alternately  caresses  and  chastises  a  whore. 
.  Canto  XXXIII.  The  seven  Virtues  having  chanted  a 
hymn,  Beatrice  motions  to  Statius  and  Dante  to  follow  her, 
asking  the  latter  why  he  is  so  mute?  Rejoining  she  best 
knows  what  he  needs,  Dante  receives  from  her  lips  an  ex- 
planation of  what  he  has  just  seen,  which  he  is  bidden  reveal 
to  mankind.  Conversing  thus,  they  reach  the  second  stream, 
of  whose  waters  Beatrice  bids  her  friend  drink,  and  after 
that  renovating  draught  Dante  realizes  he  has  now  been 
made  pure  and  "apt  for  mounting  to  the  stars." 

PABADISE 

Introduction.  The  Paradise  of  Dante  consists  of  nine 
crystalline  spheres  of  different  sizes,  the  Moon,  Mercury, 
Venus,  the  Sun,  Mars,  Jupiter,  Saturn,  the  Fixed  Stars,  and 
the  Empyrean,  enclosed  one  within  the  other,  and  revolved 


DIVINE  COMEDY  177 

by  the  Angels,  Archangels,  Princedoms,  Powers,  Virtues, 
Dominations,  Thrones,  Cherubim,  and  Seraphim.  Beyond 
these  orbs,  whose  whirling  motions  cause  "the  music  of 
the  spheres,"  lies  a  tenth  circle,  the  real  heaven  (a  Rose), 
where  "peace  divine  inhabits,"  and  of  which  the  Divine 
Essence  or  Trinity  forms  the  very  core. 

Canto  I.  Paradise  opens  with  Dante's  statement  that 
in  heaven  he  was  "witness  of  things,  which  to  relate  again, 
surpasseth  the  power  of  him  who  comes  from  thence."  He 
therefore  invokes  the  help  of  Apollo  to  describe  that  part 
of  the  universe  upon  which  is  lavished  the  greatest  share 
of  light.  Then,  while  gazing  up  into  Beatrice's  eyes,  Dante, 
freed  from  earth's  trammels,  suddenly  feels  himself  soar 
upward,  and  is  transferred  with  indescribable  swiftness  into 
a  totally  different  medium. 

Canto  II.  Perceiving  his  bewilderment,  Beatrice  reas- 
sures him  in  a  motherly  strain,  and,  gazing  around  him, 
Dante  realizes  they  have  entered  the  translucent  circle  of 
the  moon  (revolved  by  angels) .  After  warning  his  fellow- 
men  "  the  way  I  pass  ne'er  yet  was  run,"  Dante  goes  on  to 
relate  what  Beatrice  teaches  him  in  regard  to  the  heavenly 
spheres  and  spiritual  evolution,  and  how  she  promises  to 
reveal  to  him  "the  truth  thou  lovest." 

Canto  III.  In  the  pearl-hued  atmosphere  of  the  moon, 
Dante  beholds,  "as  through  a  glass,  darkly,"  shadowy, 
nun-like  forms,  and  is  told  by  Beatrice  to  communicate  with 
them.  Addressing  the  form  nearest  him,  Dante  learns  she 
is  Piccarda  (sister  of  Forese),  who  was  kidnapped  by  her 
husband  after  she  had  taken  the  veil.  Although  she  would 
fain  have  kept  her  religious  vows,  Piccarda  proved  a  faith- 
ful wife,  and  declares  she  and  her  fellow-spirits  are  content 
to  remain  in  their  appointed  sphere  until  called  higher  by 
the  Almighty. 

"She  with  those  other  spirits  gently  smiled; 
Then  answei^d  with  such  gladness,  that  she  aeem'd 
With  love's  first  flame  to  glow:  'Brother!  our  will 
Is,  in  composure,  settled  hy  the  power 
Of  charity,  who  makes  us  will  alone 
What  we  possess,  and  nought  heyond  desire,' " 

12 


178  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

All  her  companions  also  wished  to  be  brides  of  Christ,  but 
patiently  did  their  duty,  and,  knowing  that  "in  His  will 
is  our  tranquillity,"  they  now  spend  all  their  time  singing 
"Ave  Maria."  When  these  nun-like  forms  vanish,  Dante 
gazes  at  Beatrice  in  hopes  of  learning  more. 

Canto  IV.  In  reply  to  Dante's  inquiring  glance, 
Beatrice  explains  that  those  compelled  to  sin  against  their 
desire  are  ever  held  blameless  in  Heaven.    Then,  stating: 

"  Not  seldom,  brother,  it  hath  chanced  for  men 
To  do  what  they  had  gladly  left  undone;  " 

she  adds  that  "the  will  that  wiUs  not,  still  survives  un- 
quenched,"  and  that  by  will  power  only  St.  Lawrence  and 
Mucins  Seevola  were  enabled  to  brave  fire.  Then  she  makes 
him  see  how  truth  alone  can  satisfy  a  mind  athirst  for 
knowledge. 

Canto  V.  Beatrice  asserts  that  the  most  precious  gift 
bestowed  upon  mankind  was  freedom  of  will,  and  that 
"knowledge  comes  of  learning  well  retain 'd."  She  con- 
cludes that  when  man  makes  a  vow  he  offers  his  will  in 
sacrifice  to  God,  and  that  for  that  reason  no  vow  should  be 
thoughtlessly  made,  but  all  should  be  rigidly  kept.  Still, 
she  admits  it  is  better  to  break  a  promise  than,  like  Jephthah 
and  Agamemnon,  to  subscribe  to  a  heinous  crime,  and  states 
that  either  Testament  can  serve  as  guide  for  Jews  or 
Christians.  Again  drawing  Dante  upward  by  the  very 
intensity  of  her  gaze,  she  conveys  him  to  the  second  circle, 
the  heaven  of  Mercury  (revolved  by  Archangels).  Here, 
in  an  atmosphere  as  pellucid  as  water,  Dante  perceives 
thousands  of  angels,  coming  toward  him,  singing  "Lo!  one 
arrived  to  multiply  our  loves ! ' '  These  spirits  assure  Dante 
he  was  born  in  a  happy  hour,  since  he  is  allowed,  ere  the 
"close  of  fleshly  warfare,"  to  view  the  glories  of  heaven, — 
and  express  a  desire  to  share  their  lights  with  him.  So 
Dante  questions  the  spirit  nearest  him,  which  immediately 
glows  with  loving  eagerness  to  serve  him,  until  it  becomes 
a  dazzling  point  of  light. 

Canto  VI.    This  spirit  announces  he  is  Justinian,  chosen 


DIVINE  COMEDY  179 

to  clear  "from  vain  excess  the  encumbered  laws,"  five 
hundred  years  after  the  Christian  era  began,  and  that  it 
was  in  order  to  devote  all  his  time  to  this  task  that  he  con- 
signed the  military  power  to  Belisarius.  He  proceeds  to 
give  Dante  a  resume  of  Roman  history,  from  the  kidnapping 
of  the  Sabines  to  his  own  day,  laying  stress  on  the  triumphs 
won  by  great  generals.  He  also  specially  mentions  the 
hour  "When  Heaven  was  minded  that  o'er  all  the  world  his 
own  deep  cahn  should  brood,"  the  troublous  days  of  the 
empire,  and  the  feud  of  the  Guelfs  and  GhibelUnes,  the 
two  principal  political  factions  of  Dante's  time.  Next  he 
explains  that  Mercury  is  inhabited  by  "good  spirits  whose 
mortal  lives  were  busied  to  that  end  that  honor  and  renown 
might  wait  on  them,"  and  quotes  in  particular  Raymond 
Berenger,  whose  four  daughters  became  queens. 

Canto  VII.  After  this  speech  Justinian  vanishes  with 
his  angelic  companions,  and  Dante,  duly  encouraged,  in- 
quires of  Beatrice  how  "just  revenge  could  be  with  justice 
punished?"  She  informs  him  that,  as  in  Adam  all  die 
through  the  power  of  sin,  all  can  by  faith  live  again 
through  Christ,  thanks  to  God's  goodness. 

Canto  VIII.  Although  unaware  of  the  fact,  Dante, 
whose  eyes  have  been  fixed  on  Beatrice,  has  during  her 
exposition  been  wafted  up  to  the  third  heaven,  that  of 
Venus  (revolved  by  Princedoms).  In  the  planet  of  love 
— ^where  Beatrice  glows  with  increased  beauty — are  in- 
numerable souls  "imperfect  through  excess  of  love,"  which 
are  grouped  in  constantly  revolving  circles.  All  at  once 
one  of  these  luminous  spirits  approaches  Dante,  and,  after 
expressing  great  readiness  to  serve  him,  introduces  him- 
self as  Charles  Martel,  King  of  Hungary,  brother  of 
Robert  of  Naples.  Thirsting  for  information,  Dante  in- 
quires of  him  "how  bitter  can  spring  when  sweet  is  sown?" 
In  a  lengthy  disquisition  in  reply,  this  spirit  mentions 
how  children  often  differ  from  their  parents,  quotes  Esau 
and  Jacob  as  marked  examples  thereof,  and  adds  that 
nature,  guided  by  Providence,  produces'  at  wiU  a  Solon, 
Xerxes,  Melchisedec,  or  Daedalus. 


180  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Ccmto  IX.  The  next  spirit  with  whom  Beatrice  con- 
verses is  the  fair  Cunizza,  who  like  the  Magdalen  "loved 
much,"  and  therefor  obtained  pardon  for  her  sins.  Before 
vanishing,  she  foretells  coming  political  events,  and  in- 
troduces the  Provengal  bard  Folco,  whose  poems  on  love 
were  to  be  republished  after  five  hundred  years  of  oblivion. 
After  relating  his  life,  this  poet  informs  Dante  the  harlot 
Rahab  was  admitted  to  this  heaven  in  reward  for  saving 
Joshua's  spies.  This  spirit  concludes  his  interview  by 
censuring  the  present  papal  policy,  declaring  it  far  too 
worldly,  avaricious,  and  time-serving  to  find  favor  in 
heaven. 

Ganio  X.  Drawn  upward  this  time  by  the  attraction  of 
the  sun,  Dante  finds  himself  in  a  dazzling  sphere  (revolved 
by  Powers),  where  he  and  Beatrice  behold  consecutive  mov- 
ing wreaths,  each  composed  of  twelve  blessed  spirits  who 
while  on  earth  were  noted  as  teachers  of  divinity  and 
philosophy.  One  of  these  singing,  revolving  wreaths  en- 
compasses our  travellers,  until  one  of  its  members,  St. 
Thomas  Aquinas,  ceases  his  ineffable  song  long  enough  to 
present  his  companions  and  explain  their  titles  to  immortal 
glory. 

Canto  XI.  St.  Thomas  Aquinas,  in  his  conversation 
with  Dante,  relates  the  life  of  St.  Francis  of  Assisi,  dwell- 
ing particularly  upon  his  noble  character,  and  describiag 
how,  after  becoming  wedded  to  Poverty,  he  founded  the 
order  of  the  Franciscans,  received  the  stigmata,  and  died 
in  odor  of  sanctity,  leaving  worthy  disciples  and  emulators, 
such  as  St.  DoTninio,  to  continue  and  further  the  good  work 
he  had  begun.  He  adds  that  many  of  the  saint's  followers 
are  represented  in  the  innumerable  glowing  wreaths  which 
people  the  heaven  of  the  Sun. 

Canto  Xll.  Still  encompassed  by  one  rainbow  circle 
after  another,  Dante  is  told  by  St.  Buonaventura  of  Dom- 
inic's inestimable  services  to  mankind,  and  hears  about  his 
fervent  zeal  and  deep  faith. 

Canto  XIII.  While  Dante  and  Beatrice  gaze  with  awe 
and  admiration  upon  the  circles  of  light  which  revolve 


DIVINE  COMEDY  181 

through  all  the  signs  of  the  zodiac,  St.  Thomas  Aquinas 
solves  sundry  of  Dante 's  doubts,  and  cautions  him  never  to 
accede  to  any  proposition  without  having  duly  weighed  it. 

"  Let  not  the  people  be  too  swift  to  judge; 
As  one  who  reckons  on  the  blades  in  field. 
Or  e'er  the  crop  be  ripe.     For  I  have  seen 
The  thorn  frown  rudely  all  the  winter  long. 
And  after  bear  the  rose  upon  its  top; 
And  bark,  that  all  her  way  across  the  sea 
Ean  straight  and  speedy,  perish  at  the  last 
E'en  in  the  haven's  mouth." 

Canto  XIV.  Proceeding  from  circle  to  circle,  Dante 
and  Beatrice  reach  the  innermost  ring,  where  the  latter 
bids  Solomon  solve  Dante's  doubts  by  describing  the  ap- 
pearance of  the  blest  after  the  resurrection  of  the  body. 
In  words  almost  as  eloquent  as  those  wherewith  St.  Gabriel 
transmitted  his  message  to  Mary,  Solomon  complies. 

"  Long  as  the  joy  of  Paradise  shall  last, 
Our  love  shall  shine  around  that  raiment,  bright 
As  fervent;   fervent  as,  in  vision,  blest; 
And  that  as  far,  in  blessedness,  exceeding. 
As  it  hath  grace,  beyond  its  virtue,  great. 
Our  shape,  regarmented  with  glorious  weeds 
Of  saintly  flesh,  must,  being  thus  entire, 
Show  yet  more  gracious,    'nierefore  shall  increase 
Whate'er,  of  light,  gratuitous  imparts 
The  Supreme  Good;   light,  ministering  aid. 
The  better  to  disclose  his  glory:   whence. 
The  vision  needs  increasing,  must  increase 
The  fervor,  which  it  kindles;  and  that  too 
The  ray,  that  comes  from  it." 

As  he  concludes  his  explanation,  a  chorus  of  spiritual 
voices  chant  "Amen,"  and  Solomon,  directing  Dante's 
glance  upward,  shows  him  how  the  bright  spirits  of  this 
sphere  group  themselves  in  the  form  of  a  cross, — glowing 
with  light  and  pulsing  with  music, — ^whereon  "Christ 
beamed,"  a  sight  none  ean  hope  to  see  save  those  who  "talje 
up  their  cross  and  follow  him." 

Cantos  XV,  XVI.  In  the  midst  of  the  rapture  caused 
by  these  sights  and  sounds,  Dante  is  amazed  to  recognize. 


182  THE  BOOK  OP  THE  EPIC 

in  one  of  the  angels  which  continually  shift  places  in  the 
glowing  cross,  his  ancestor  Cacciaguida,  who  assures  him 
Florence  proved  happy  as  long  as  its  inhabitants  led  simple  - 
and  virtuous  lives,  but  rapidly  degenerated  and  became 
corrupt  when  covetousness,  luxury,  and  pleasure  took  up 
their  abode  within  its  walls. 

Canto  XVII.  Encouraged  by  Beatrice,  who  stands  at  a 
short  distance  to  leave  him  more  freedom,  Dante  begs  his 
great  ancestor  to  reveal  what  is  about  to  befall  him,  so  that, 
forewarned,  he  may  most  wisely  meet  his  fate.  In  reply 
Cacciaguida  teUs  him  he  will  be  exiled  from  Florence,  and 
compelled  to  associate  with  people  who  will  turn  against 
him,  only  to  rue  this  fact  with  shame  later  on.  He  adds 
Dante  will  learn  how  bitter  is  the  savor  of  other's  bread 
and  how  hard  to  climb  another's  stairs. 

"  Thou  shalt  leave  each  thing 
Beloved  most  dearly:  this  is  the  first  shaft 
Shot  from  the  bow  of  exile.     Thou  shalt  prove 
How  salt  the  savor  is  of  other's  bread; 
How  hard  the  passage,  to  descend  and  climb 
By  other's  stairs." 

Then  Cacciaguida  goes  on  to  state  that  Dante  shall  finally 
find  refuge  in  Lombardy,  with  Can  Grande,  and  while  there 
will  compose  the  poems  depicting  his  memorable  journey 
down  through  sin  to  the  lowest  pit  and  upward  through 
repentance  to  the  realm  of  bliss. 

"  For  this,  there  only  have  been  shown  to  thee, 
Throughout  these  orbs,  the  mountain,  and  the  deep. 
Spirit,  whom  fame  hath  note  of.     For  the  mind 
Of  him,  who  hears,  is  loath  to  acquiesce 
And  fix  its  faith,  unless  the  instance  brought 
Be  palpable,  and  proof  apparent  urge." 

Seeing  Dante's  dismay  at  this  prediction,  Beatrice  com- 
forts him  by  a  smile,  and,  seeing  he  is  again  wrapped  in 
contemplation  of  her,  warns  him  that  "these  eyes  are  not 
thy  only  Paradise." 

Canto  XV III.  Then  Beatrice  leads  her  charge  into 
the  fifth  heaven,  that  of  Mars,  revolved  by  Virtues  and  in- 


DIVINE  COMEDY  183 

habited  by  transfigured  martyrs,  confessors,  and  holy  war- 
riors, such  as  Joshua,  the  Maccabees,  Charlemagne,  Orlando, 
Godfrey  of  Bouillon,  and  other  men  of  note.  These  worthies 
form  a  part  of  the  mystic  cross,  and  each  glows  with 
transcendent  light  as  Beatrice  points  them  out  one  after 
another.  Then  Beatrice  wafts  her  charge  into  the  sixth 
heaven,  that  of  Jupiter  (revolved  by  Dominations).  Here 
the  spirits  of  rulers  famous  for  justice,  moving  with  kaleido- 
scopic tints  and  rapidity,  alternately  form  mystic  letters 
spelling ' '  Love  righteousness  ye  that  be  judges  of  the  earth, ' ' 
or  settle  silently  into  the  shape  of  a  gigantic  eagle.  This 
sight  proves  so  impressive  that  Dante  sinks  to  his  knees, 
fervently  praying  justice  may  indeed  reign  on  earth  as  in 
heaven. 

Canto  XIX.  To  his  intense  surprise  Dante  now  hears 
the  mystic  eagle  proclaim  in  trumpet  tones  that  justice  and 
pity  shall  be  exacted,  and  that  no  man  shall  be  saved  with- 
out them.  He  adds  that  eternal  judgment  is  incompre- 
hensible to  mortal  ken,  that  mere  professions  are  vain,  and 
that  many  so-called  Christian  potentates  (some  of  whom  he 
names)  will  present  a  sorry  figure  on  Judgment  Day. 

Canto  XX.  After  a  period  of  silence,  the  same  Eagle 
(an  emblem  of  the  Empire)  proceeds  to  exalt  certain  rulers, 
especially  those  glorified  spirits  which  form  the  pupil  of 
his  eye  (David),  and  his  eyelids  (Trajan,  Hezekiah,  Con- 
stantine) .  As  he  mentions  their  names  they  glow  like  price- 
less rubies,  and  he  explains  that,  although  some  of  them 
lived  before  Christ  was  made  flesh,  all  have  been  redeemed 
because  Faith,  Hope,  and  Charity  are  their  sponsors. 

"The  three  nymphs. 
Whom  at  the  right  wheel  thou  beheld'st  advancing, 
Were  sponsors  for  him,  more  than  thousand  years 
Before  baptizing.     O  how  far  removed. 
Predestination!  is  thy  root  from  such 
As  see  not  the  First  Cause  entire:   and  ye, 
O  mortal  men!   be  wary  how  ye  judge: 
For  we,  who  see  our  Maker,  know  not  yet 
The  number  of  the  chosen;  and  esteem 
Such  scantiness  of  knowledge  our  delight: 
For  all  our  good  is,  in  that  primal  good. 
Concentrate;  and  God's  will  and  ours  are  one." 


184.  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Canto  XXI.  Meantime  Beatrice,  who  has  grown  more 
and  more  beautiful  as  they  rise,  explains,  when  Dante  again 
gazes  upon  her,  that  she  no  longer  dares  smile,  lest  he  be 
consumed  like  Semele  when  she  beheld  Jove.  The  magnetic 
power  of  her  glance  suffices  again,  however,  to  transfer  him 
to  the  seventh  heaven,  that  of  Saturn  (revolved  by  Thrones) . 
This  sphere  is  the  abiding  place  of  contemplative  and  ab- 
stinent hermits  and  monks.  There  our  poet  beholds  a  lad- 
der, up  whose  steps  silently  ascend  those  whose  lives  were 
spent  in  retirement  and  holy  contemplation.  Amazed  by 
all  he  sees,  and  conscious  he  no  longer  hears  the  music  of 
the  spheres,  Dante  wonders  until  informed  by  one  of  the 
spirits,  coming  down  the  steps  to  meet  him,  that  at  this 
stage  the  heavenly  music  is  too  loud  and  intense  for  human 
ears.  Seeing  his  interlocutor  suddenly  become  a  whirling 
wheel  of  light,  Dante  inquires  what  this  may  mean,  only  to 
be  told  spirits  obscured  on  earth  by  fleshly  garments  shine 
brightly  in  heaven.  The  spirit  then  gives  his  name  (St. 
Peter  Damian),  vividly  describes  the  place  where  he  built 
his  hermitage,  and  declares  many  modem  prelates  have 
sinned  so  grievously  through  lechery  or  avarice  that  they 
are  now  detained  in  Inferno  or  Purgatory.  As  he  speaks, 
spirit  after  spirit  flits  down  the  stairs,  each  bound  on  some 
errand  of  charity  to  the  spheres  below. 

Canto  XXII.  Startled  by  a  loud  cry,  Dante  is  reassured 
by  St.  Damian 's  statement  that  no  harm  can  befall  him  in 
heaven.  Next  Beatrice  directs  his  attention  to  some  descend- 
ing spirits,  the  most  radiant  of  which  is  St.  Benedict,  who 
explains  how  blissful  spirits  often  leave  the  heavenly  abode 
' '  to  execute  the  counsel  of  the  Highest. ' '  He  adds  that  Dante 
has  been  selected  to  warn  mortals,  none  of  whom  will  ever 
be  allowed  to  venture  hither  again.  Then  St.  Benedict 
describes  his  life  on  earth  and  inveighs  against  the  cor- 
ruption of  the  monks  of  Dante's  time. 

His  speech  ended,  St.  Benedict  vanishes,  and  Beatrice 
wafts  Dante  up  the  mystic  stairs,  through  the  constellation 
of  the  Gemini,  to  the  eighth  heaven,  that  of  the  Fixed  Stars 
(revolved  by  the  Cherubim).    Declaring  he  is  so  near  "the 


DIVINE  COMEDY  186 

last  salvation"  that  his  eyes  should  be  unclouded,  Beatrice 
removes  the  last  veil  from  his  sight,  and  bids  him  gaze  down 
at  the  spheres  through  which  they  have  passed,  and  "see 
how  vast  a  world  thou  hast  already  put  beneath  thy  feet." 
Smiling  at  the  smallness  of  the  earth  left  behind  him,  Dante, 
undazzled  by  the  mild  light  of  the  moon  or  the  glow  of  the 
sun,  gazes  at  the  seven  revolving  spheres  until  all  the 
scheme  of  creation  is  "made  apparent  to  him." 

Canto  XXIII.  Beatrice,  who  is  still  standing  beside 
him,  finally  tears  him  away  from  his  contemplation  of 
what  is  beneath  him,  and  directs  his  glance  aloft,  where 
he  catches  his  first  glimpse  of  Christ,  escorted  by  his  Mother 
and  by  the  Church  triumphant.  Too  dazzled  and  awed  at 
first  to  grasp  what  he  sees,  Dante  feels  heart  and  mind  ex- 
pand, as  he  listens  enraptured  to  sweeter  music  than  was 
ever  made  by  the  nine  muses.  Meantime  the  spirits  escort- 
ing Christ  crown  the  Virgin  with  lilies,  and  all  sing  the 
praises  of  the  Queen  of  Heaven.* 

Canto  XXIV.  Beatrice  and  Dante  are  now  joined  by 
the  spirit  of  St.  Peter,  who  examines  Dante  on  faith,  re- 
ceiving the  famous  reply:  "Faith  is  the  substance  of  the 
thing  we  hope  for,  and  evidence  of  those  that  are  not  seen. " 
Not  only  does  St.  Peter  approve  Dante's  definition,  but  he 
discusses  theological  questions  with  him,  leading  him  mean- 
while further  into  this  sphere. 

Canto  XXY.  Presently  a  spirit  approaches  them  which 
is  designated  by  Beatrice  as  St.  James.  After  greettag  St. 
Peter  and  smiling  upon  Beatrice,  St.  James  reveals  he  has 
been  sent  hither  by  Christ  to  examine  Dante  upon  hope, 
whereupon  our  poet,  lifting  his  eyes  "to  the  hills,"  gains 
courage  enough  to  answer  thus:  "Hope  is  the  certain  ex- 
pectation of  future  glory,  which  is  the  effect  of  grace  divine 
and  merit  precedent."  St.  James  is  so  pleased  with  this 
answer  that  he  glows  even  more  brightly,  as  St.  John,  "who 
lay  upon  the  breast  of  him,  our  Pelican,"  appeared,  shining 
so  brightly  that  Dante,  turning  to  ask  Beatrice  who  he  is, 

*See  the  author's  "Legends  of  the  Virgin  and  Christ." 


186  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

discovers  he  can  no  longer  see  her  although  she  is  close 
beside  him. 

"  I   turn'd,  but  ah !    how  trembled  in  my  thought. 
When,  looking  at  my  side  again  to  see 
Beatrice,  I  descried  her  not;  although. 
Not  distant,  on  the  happy  coast  she  stood." 

Canto  XXVI.  Dante  now  ascertains  he  has  merely  been 
temporarily  blinded  by  the  excess  of  light  which  emanates 
from  St.  John,  who  proceeds  to  examine  him  in  regard  to 
Charity.  His  answers  are  greeted  by  the  heavenly  chorus 
with  the  chant  "Holy,  holy,  holy,"  in  which  Beatrice  joins, 
ere  she  clears  the  last  mote  away  from  Dante's  eyes  and 
thus  enables  him  to  see  more  plainly  than  ever.  Our  poet 
now  perceives  a  fourth  spirit,  in  whom  he  recognizes  Adam, 
father  of  mankind,  who  retells  the  story  of  Eden,  adding 
that,  4232  years  after  creation,  Christ  delivered  him  from 
hell,  and  enabled  him  to  view  the  changes  which  had  taken 
place  in  the  fortunes  of  his  descendants  during  that  long 
space  of  time. 

Canto  XXVII.  After  listening  enraptured  to  the  melody 
of  the  heavenly  choir  chanting  ' '  Glory  be  to  the  Father,  to 
the  Son,  and  to  the  Holy  Ghost,"  Dante  gazes  upon  the 
four  worthies  near  him,  who  glow  and  shine  like  torches, 
while  ' '  silence  reigns  in  heaven. ' '  Then  St.  Peter,  changing 
color,  holds  forth  against  covetousness,  and  expounds 
the  doctrine  of  apostolic  succession.  Because  the  early 
popes  died  as  martyrs,  he  considers  it  a  disgrace  that  their 
successors  should  be  guilty  of  misgovemment.  He  adds 
that  the  keys  bestowed  upon  him  should  never  figure  on 
banners  used  in  waging  unrighteous  wars,  and  that  his 
effigy  on  the  papal  seal  should  never  appear  on  worldly 
documents. 

Then  Beatrice  affords  Dante  a  glimpse  of  the  earth  from 
the  Straits  of  Gibraltar  to  the  Bosphorus,  and,  when  this 
vision  ends,  wafts  him  up  into  the  ninth  heaven,  the  Primum 
Mobile,  or  spot  whence  all  motion  starts,  although  itself 
remains  immovable. 


DIVINE  COMEDY  187 

Here  is  the  goal,  whence  motion  on  his  race 
Starts:  motionless  the  centre,  and  the  rest 
All  moved  around. 

Canto  XXVIII.  From  this  point  Dante  watches  the 
universe  spin  around  him,  until  "she  who  doth  emparadise 
my  soul"  draws  aside  the  veil  of  mortality,  and  allows  him 
to  perceive  nine  concentric  spheres  of  multitudinous  angels 
constantly  revolving  around  a  dazzling  point  while  singing 
"  Hosanna!  "  These  are  the  heavenly  host,  the  hierarchy 
of  angels,  Seraphim,  Cherubim,  Thrones,  Dominations,  Vir- 
tues, Powers,  Princedoms,  Archangels,  and  Angels,  in  charge 
of  the  various  circles  which  compose  Dante's  Paradise. 

Canto  XXIX.  Able  to  read  Dante's  thoughts,  Beatrice 
explains  some  of  the  things  he  would  fain  know,  and  dis- 
perses his  doubts,  cautioning  him,  if  he  would  be  blessed, 
to  rid  himself  of  every  atom  of  pride,  since  that  caused 
even  angels  to  fall ! 

Canto  XXX.  Once  more  Dante's  eyes  are  fixed  upon 
Beatrice,  whose  beauty  far  transcends  his  powers  of  de- 
scription, and  is  by  her  conveyed  into  the  next  circle,  the 
Empyrean,  or  heaven  of  pure  light,  into  which  he  is  told 
to  plunge  as  into  a  river.  Eagerly  quaffing  its  ethereal 
waters  to  satisfy  his  ardent  thirst  for  knowledge,  Dante 
beholds  the  court  of  Heaven,  and  descries  its  myriads  of 
thrones,  all  occupied  by  redeemed  spirits.  These  thrones 
are  grouped  around  a  brilliant  centre  (God)  so  as  to  form 
a  dazzling  jewelled  rose. 

Canto  XXXI.  Robed  ia  snowy  white,  the  redeemed — 
who  form  the  petals  of  the  Eternal  Rose — are  visited  from 
time  to  time  by  ruby  sparks,  which  are  the  angels  hovering 
above  them,  who  plunge  like  bees  iato  the  heart  of  this 
flower,  their  glowing  faces,  golden  wings,  and  white  robes 
adding  charms  to  the  scene.  After  gazing  for  some  time 
at  this  sight  in  speechless  wonder,  Dante,  turning  to  ques- 
tion Beatrice,  discovers  she  is  no  longer  beside  him!  At 
the  same  time  a  being  robed  in  glory  near  him  bids  him 
look  up  at  the  third  row  of  thrones  from  the  centre,  and 


188  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

there  behold  her  in  her  appointed  seat.  Eagerly  glancing 
in  the  direction  indicated,  Dante  perceives  Beatrice,  who, 
when  he  invokes  her,  smiles  radiantly  down  upon  him,  ere 
she  again  turns  her  face  to  the  eternal  fountain  of  light. 

"  So  I  my  suit  preferr'd; 
And  she,  so  distant,  as  appear'd,  look'd  down, 
And  smiled;  then  towards  the  eternal  fountain  tum'd." 

Meanwhile  the  spirit  informs  Dante  he  has  been  sent 
by  Beatrice  to  help  him  end  his  journey  safely,  for  he  is 
St.  Bernard,  who  so  longed  to  behold  the  Virgin's  coun- 
tenance that  that  boon  was  vouchsafed  him.  Knowing 
Dante  would  fain  see  her  too,  he  bids  him  find,  among  the 
most  brilliant  lights  in  the  Mystic  Eose,  the  Virgin  Mary, 
Queen  of  Heaven. 

Canto  XXXII.  Because  the  dazzled  Dante  cannot  im- 
mediately locate  her,  St.  Bernard  points  her  out,  with  Eve, 
Eachel,  Beatrice,  Sarah,  Judith,  Rebecca,  and  Ruth  sitting 
at  her  feet,  and  John  the  Baptist,  St.  Augustine,  St. 
Francis,  and  St.  Benedict  standing  close  behind  her.  He 
also  explains  that  those  who  believed  in  "Christ  who  was 
to  come"  are  in  one  part  of  the  rose,  while  those  who 
"looked  to  Christ  already  come"  are  in  another,  but  that 
all  here  are  spirits  duly  assoiled,  and  adds  that,  although 
occupying  different  ranks,  these  spirits  are  perfectly  satis- 
fied with  the  places  awarded  to  them.  Told  now  to  look 
up  at  the  face  most  closely  resembling  Christ's  Dante  dis- 
covers it  is  that  of  St.  Gabriel,  angel  of  the  annunciation, 
and  he  descries  further  on  St.  Peter,  Moses,  and  St.  Anna, 
as  well  as  Santa  Lucia  who  induced  Beatrice  to  send  for 
him. 

Canto  XXXIII.  This  done,  St.  Bernard  fervently  prays 
the  Virgin,  who  not  only  ' '  gives  succor  to  him  who  asketh 
it,  but  oftentimes  f orerunneth  of  its  own  accord  the  asking, ' ' 
to  allow  Dante  one  glimpse  of  Divine  Majesty.  Seeing 
this  prayer  is  graciously  received,  St.  Bernard  bids  Dante 
look  up.  Thanks  to  his  recently  purified  vision,  our  jwet 
has  a  glimpse  of  the  Triune  Divinity, — compounded  of 


THE  ORLANDOS  189 

love, — ^which  so  transcends  all  hvunan  expression  that  he 
declares  "what  he  saw  was  not  for  words  to  speak." 

He  concludes  his  grand  poem,  however,  by  assuring  us 
that,  although  dazed  by  what  he  had  seen,  his 

"  will  roU'd  onward,  like  a  wheel 
In  even  motion,  by  the  love  impell'd. 
That  moves  the  sun  in  heaven  and  all  the  stars." 

THE  ORLANDOS 

Roland,  nephew  of  Charlemagne,  hero  of  the  Song  of 
Boland  and  of  an  endless  succession  of  metrical  romances, 
was  as  popular  a  character  in  Italian  literature  as  in  the 
French.  The  Italians  felt  a  proprietary  interest  in  Charle- 
magne because  he  had  been  crowned  emperor  of  the  West 
in  Rome  in  the  year  800,  and  also  because  he  had  taken  the 
part  of  the  pope  against  the  Lombards.  Even  the  names  of 
his  twelve  great  peers  were  household  words  in  Italy,  so 
tales  about  Roland — ^who  is  known  there  as  Orlando — ^were 
sure  to  find  ready  hearers. 

The  adventures  of  Roland,  therefore,  naturally  became 
the  theme  of  Italian  epics,  some  of  which  are  of  considerable 
length  and  of  great  importance,  owing  principally  to  their 
exquisite  versification  and  diction.  Pulci  and  Boiardo  both 
undertook  to  depict  Boland  as  a  prey  to  the  tender  passion 
in  epics  entitled  Orlando  Innamorato,  while  Ariosto,  the 
most  accomplished  and  musical  poet  of  the  three,  spent 
more  than  ten  years  of  his  life  composing  Orlando  Furioso 
(1516),  wherein  he  depicts  this  famous  hero  driven  insane 
by  his  passion  for  an  Oriental  princess. 

Assuming  that  his  auditors  are  familiar  with  the  char- 
acters of  Boiardo 's  unfinished  epic,  Ariosto,  picking  up  the 
thread  of  the  narrative  at  the  point  where  his  predecessor 
dropped  it,  continues  the  story  in  the  same  vein.  It  there- 
fore becomes  imperative  to  know  the  main  trend  of 
Boiardo 's  epic. 

It  opens  with  a  lengthy  description  of  a  tournament 
3,t  the  court  of  Charlemagne,  whither  knights  from  aU 


190  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

parts  of  the  globe  hasten  to  distinguish  themselves  in  the 
lists.  Chief  among  these  foreign  guests  are  Argalio  and 
Angelica,  son  and  daughter  of  the  king  of  Cathay,  with 
their  escort  of  four  huge  giants.  The  prince  is,  moreover, 
fortunate  possessor  of  a  magic  lance,  one  touch  of  which 
suffices  to  unhorse  any  opponent,  while  the  princess,  by 
means  of  an  enchanted  ring,  can  detect  and  frustrate  any 
spell,  or  become  invisible  by  putting  it  in  her  mouth.  On 
arriving  at  Charlemagne's  court,  Argalio  stipulates  that  all 
the  knights  he  defeats  shall  belong  to  his  sister,  whom  in 
return  he  offers  as  prize  to  any  knight  able  to'  unhorse  him. 

Such  is  the  transcendent  beauty  of  Angelica  that 
Argalio  is  instantly  challenged  by  Astolfo,  who  is  defeated, 
and  then  by  Ferrau,  who,  although  defeated  in  the  first 
onset,  proves  victor  in  the  second,  simply  because  he  acci- 
dentally seizes  the  magic  lance  and  directs  it  against  its 
owner!  Since  the  laws  of  the  tournament  award  him  the 
prize,  Angelica,  seeing  she  cannot  otherwise  escape,  rides 
hastily  away  and  conceals  herself  in  the  forest  of  Arden. 
She  is,  however,  pursued  thither  by  many  knights  who  have 
been  captivated  by  her  beauty,  among  whom  are  Rinaldo 
(Renaud  de  Montauban)  and  Orlando,  who  were  proposing 
to  challenge  her  brother  next.  In  the  precincts  of  the  forest 
where  Angelica  takes  refuge  are  two  magic  fountains,  one 
whose  waters  instantly  transform  love  into  hate,  while  the 
other  induces  any  partaker  to  love  the  next  person  seen. 

Prowling  around  this  forest,  Rinaldo  unsuspectingly 
quaffs  the  water  which  turns  love  to  hate,  so  he  immediately 
ceases  his  quest  and  falls  asleep.  Meantime  Angelica,  drink- 
ing from  the  other  fountain  and  coming  upon  the  sleeper, 
falls  madly  in  love  with  him  and  watches  for  his  awaken- 
ing. But,  still  under  the  influence  of  the  magic  waters  he 
has  imbibed,  Rinaldo  rides  away  without  heeding  her  timid 
wooing,  and  leaves  her  to  mourn  until  she  too  falls  asleep. 

Orlando,  coming  up  by  chance,  is  gazing  in  admiration 
upon  this  sleeping  princes,  when  Perrau  rides  up  to  claim 
her  as  his  prize.  These  knights  are  fighting  for  her  pos- 
session when  the  clash  of  their  weapons  awakens  Angelica. 


THE  ORLANDOS  191 

Terrified  she  retreats  into  the  thicket,  and,  thrusting  her 
ring  into  her  mouth,  becomes  invisible!  Meantime  the 
knights  continue  their  duel  until  a  messenger  summons 
Ferrau  to  hasten  to  Spain,  where  war  has  broken  out. 

Angelica,  unable  to  forget  Rinaldo  since  she  has  par- 
taken of  the  waters  of  love,  now  induces  the  magician  Mal- 
gigi  to  entice  her  beloved  to  an  island  over  which  she  reigns, 
where  she  vainly  tries  to  win  his  affections  and  to  detain 
him  by  her  side.  StiU  under  the  influence  of  the  waters  of 
hate,  Rinaldo  escapes,  only  to  land  in  a  gloomy  country, 
where  he  is  plunged  into  a  loathsome  den.  There  a  monster 
is  about  to  devour  him,  when  Angelica  comes  to-  his  rescue. 
But,  even  though  she  saves  his  life,  he  ungratefully  refuses 
to  return  her  affection,  and  abruptly  leaves  her  to  encounter 
other  untoward  adventures.  Meantime  Orlando,  still  search- 
ing for  Angelica,  encounters  a  sorceress  who  gives  him  a 
magic  draught  which  causes  him  to  forget  the  past,  and 
detains  him  a  captive  in  the  island  of  Dragontine. 

Meanwhile  the  many  knights  enamoured  with  Angelica 
have  gone  to  besiege  her  father's  capital,  but  wMle  they 
are  thus  employed  she  escapes  from  the  city — ^thanks  to  her 
magic  ring — and  goes  to  deliver  Orlando.  In  return,  he 
pledges  himself  to  drive  the  besiegers  away  and  save  her 
father's  capital,  and  on  the  way  thither  encounters  Rinaldo, 
with  whom,  not  knowing  who  he  is,  he  fights  two  days, 
so  equally  are  they  matched  in  strength  and  skill.  The 
moment  comes,  however,  when  Orlando  is  on  the  point  of 
slaying  Rinaldo,  and  refrains  only  because  Angelica  op- 
portunely reveals  his  opponent's  name. 

Still  urged  by  Angelica,  Orlando  next  hastens  off  to 
destroy  the  magic  island  and  free  its  captives,  who  hurry 
back  to  France  while  their  rescuer  journeys  to  Cathay. 
There  Angelica  pretends  she  has  fallen  in  love  with  him, 
and  accompanies  him  when  he  returns  to  France  under  pre- 
text of  becoming  a  Christian.  Their  way  again  lies  through 
the  forest  of  Arden,  where  this  time  Angelica  drinks  from 
the  fountain  of  hatred.  All  her  former  love  for  Rinaldo 
therefore  vanishes,  and,  as  the  latter  has  at  the  same  time 


192  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

partaken  of  the  water  of  love,  their  parts  are  reversed,  for 
it  is  he  who  now  pursues  Angelica  whom  he  previously 
loathed.  His  attentions  so  incense  Orlando  that  he  begins 
a  fight,  which  Charlemagne  checks,  declaring  that  Angelica 
— who  is  placed  in  charge  of  Duke  Namus — shall  be  awarded 
to  the  warrior  who  distinguishes  himself  most  in  the  coming 
war. 

In  the  course  of  this  campaign  these  two  knights  meet 
with  many  adventures,  and  are  accompanied  by  Bradamant 
— ^Rinaldo's  sister — ^who  manfully  fights  by  their  side. 
Among  their  opponents  the  most  formidable  are  Rogero  and 
the  pagan  Rodomont,  whose  boastful  language  has  given 
rise  to  the  term  rodomontade.  During  one  of  their  en- 
counters, Rogero  discovers  that  his  antagonist  is  Bradamant 
— a  woman — and  falls  desperately  in  love  with  her. 

It  is  at  this  point  that  Boiardo's  poem  ends ;  and  Ariosto, 
adopting  his  characters,  immediately  begins  weaving  three 
principal  strands  of  narrative, — one  relating  to  the  wars 
of  Charlemagne,  another  to  Orlando's  madness,  and  the 
third  to  the  love  of  Rogero  and  Bradamant, — Rogero,  an 
ancestor  of  the  Ferrara  family  (Ariosto 's  patrons),  being 
the  real  hero  of  his  poem. 

Not  satisfied  at  being  placed  under  the  care  of  Duke 
Namus  of  Bavaria,  Angelica  escapes  from  his  guardianship, 
only  to  be  pursued  by  the  unwelcome  attentions  of  Rinaldo 
and  Ferrau.  WhUe  these  two  fight  for  her  possession,  the 
lady,  who  spends  her  time  fleeing  from  unwelcome  suitors, 
escapes,  only  to  fall  into  the  hands  of  Sacripant,  King  of 
Circassia,  another  admirer,  who  bears  her  off  in  triumph. 
They  meet  a  knight  in  white  armor  (Bradamant  in  quest  of 
Rogero),  ere  they  are  overtaken  by  Rinaldo.  A  new  duel 
now  ensues,  this  time  between  Rinaldo  and  Sacripant,  dur- 
ing which  Angelica  runs  away  and  seeks  refuge  with  a  her- 
mit-magician, who  then  informs  the  combatants  Angelica 
has  been  carried  off  to  Paris  by  Orlando.  Hearing  this, 
the  rivals  cease  fighting  and  join  forces  to  rescue  the  lady, 
but,  when  they  arrive  in  Paris,  Charlemagne  despatches 
Rinaldo  to  England  and  Scotland,  where,  among  other  mar- 


THE  ORLANDOS  193 

vellous  adventures,  is  told  the  lengthy  and  fantastic  yet 
beautiful  story  of  Ginevra. 

It  seems  that,  although  loved  by  the  Duke  of  Albany, 
this  lady  prefers  the  knight  Ariolant.  She  thereby  so  en- 
rages her  noble  suitor  that  he  finally  bribes  her  maid  to 
personate  her  and  admit  him  by  night  to  her  chamber  by 
means  of  a  rope  ladder.  With  fiendish  cunning  he  has 
advised  Ariolant  to  watch  Ginevra,  so  this  true  lover,  wit- 
nessing what  he  considers  irrefutable  proof  of  his  lady- 
love's unehastity,  departs  in  despair  to  commit  suicide. 
His  brother,  deeming  him  already  dead,  denounces  Ginevra, 
who,  brought  before  the  judges,  is  sentenced  to  die  unless 
some  champion  will  vindicate  her  honor.  Having  mean- 
time discovered  the  truth,  Rinaldo  clears  the  lady  by 
winning  a  brilliant  victory,  and  leaves  only  after  she  is 
safely  married  to  the  man  she  loves,  who  after  all  has  not 
taken  his  life. 

The  poet  now  picks  up  another  thread  and  shows  us 
Bradamant  seeking  Rogero,  and  discovering,  by  means  of 
Angelica's  magic  ring,  that  he  is  captive  of  a  magician. 
After  a  narrow  escape,  and  a  vision  of  the  feats  her  descend- 
ants will  perform,  Bradamant  helps  Rogero  to  escape.  Soon 
after,  this  reckless  man  vaults  upon  a  hippogriff  which 
lands  him  on  an  island,  where  an  enchantress  changes  her 
visitors  into  beasts,  stones,  trees,  etc.  Instead  of  becoming 
one  of  her  permanent  victims,  Rogero,  warned  by  the 
myrtle  to  which  he  ties  his  steed,  prevails  upon  her  to  re- 
lease her  captives,  and  after  many  adventures  is  borne  by 
the  same  hippogriff  to  the  island  of  Ebuda,  where  a  maiden 
is  daily  sacrificed  to  a  cannibal  Ore.  "When  Rogero  dis- 
covers that  the  present  victim  is  Angelica,  he  promptly 
delivers  her  and  conveys  her  to  Brittany. 

Meantime  Orlando,  mad  with  love,  is  vainly  seeking 
Angelica.  He  too  visits  Ebuda — ^but  too  late  to  meet  her 
there — and  delivers  another  maiden.  Then  he  returns  to 
France  to  find  Charlemagne  so  sorely  pressed  by  foes,  that 
he  has  implored  St.  Michael  to  interfere  in  his  behalf.  This 
archangel,  cleverly  enlisting  the  services  of  Silence  and  Dis- 
13 


194  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

cord,  brings  back  Rinaldo  and  other  knights,  who  drive 
away  the  disintegrating  pagan  force  after  sundry  bloody 
encounters.  After  one  of  these,  Angelica  finds  a  wounded 
man,  whom  she  nurses  back  to  health,  and  marries  after  a 
romantic  courtship  in  the  course  of  which  they  carve  their 
names  on  many  a  tree. 

Still  seeking  Angelica,  Orlando  in  due  time  discovers 
these  names,  and  on  learning  Angelica  is  married  becomes 
violently  insane.  Discarding  his  armor, — ^which  another 
knight  piously  collects  and  hangs  on  a  tree  with  an  inscrip- 
tion warning  no  one  to  venture  to  touch  it, — Orlando  roams 
hither  and  thither,  performing  countless  feats  of  valor,  and 
even  swimming  across  the  Strait  of  Gibraltar  to  seek  ad- 
ventures in  Africa  since  he  cannot  get  enough  in  Europe. 
In  the  course  of  his  wanderings,  Orlando  (as  well  as  sundry 
other  characters  in  the  poem)  is  favored  by  an  apparition 
of  Fata  Morgana,  the  water-fairy,  who  vainly  tries  to  lure 
him  away  from  his  allegiance  to  his  lady-love  by  offering 
him  untold  treasures. 

Every  once  in  a  while  the  poem  harks  back  to  Rogero, 
who,  having  again  fallen  into  a  magician's  hands,  prowls 
through  the  labyrinthine  rooms  of  his  castle,  seeking  Brada- 
mant,  whom  he  imagines  calling  to  him  for  help.  Mean- 
time the  lady  whom  he  is  thus  seeking  is  safe  at  Marseilles, 
but,  hearing  at  last  of  her  lover's  plight,  she  too  visits  the 
magic  castle,  and  would  have  been  decoyed  into  its  dun- 
geons had  not  Astolfo  appeared  with  a  magic  horn,  whose 
first  blast  makes  the  castle  vanish  into  thin  air !  Thus  freed, 
the  magician's  prisoners  gaze  around  them  in  wonder,  and 
Rogero  and  Bradamant  embrace  with  rapture,  planning  to 
marry  as  soon  as  Rogero  has  been  baptized. 

But,  on  their  way  to  Vallombroso  where  this  sacrament 
is  to  take  place,  the  lovers  meet  with  other  adventures  and 
are  again  separated.  Under  escort  of  Astolfo,  Bradamant 
sadly  returns  home,  where  her  mother  decrees  she  shall  re- 
main until  Rogero  can  come  and  get  her.  Meantime  Rogero 
has  again  joined  the  Saracens,  just  as  Discord  has  succeeded 
in  kindling  a  quarrel  between  Rodomont  and  Mandriear, 


THE  ORLANDOS  195 

who  both  admire  the  same  lady.  They  are  about  to  fight  for 
her  favor,  when  the  umpire  of  the  lists  pertinently  suggests 
the  lady  be  allowed  to  express  her  preference !  She  frankly 
does  so,  and  Eodomont,  rejected,  departs  in  high  dudgeon. 
In  this  unhappy  frame  of  mind  he  attacks  everybody  he 
meets,  and  after  many  victories  is  defeated  in  a  battle  with 
the  Christians.  During  this  last  encounter  Eogero  is  too 
grievously  wounded  to  be  able  to  join  Bradamant,  who, 
hearing  a  fair  lady  is  nursing  her  lover,  is  consumed  by 
jealou^.  She  therefore — ^notwithstanding  her  mother's  de- 
cree— sets  out  in  the  garb  of  a  knight  to  challenge  her 
recreant  lover  and  defeat  him  by  means  of  her  magic 
lance. 

After  unhorsing  on  the  way  all  those  who  venture  to 
tilt  with  her,  Bradamant  meets  Eogero,  who,  recognizing 
her  in  the  midst  of  their  duel,  flatly  refuses  to  continue  the 
fight,  and  implores  her  to  accompany  him  into  a  neighboring 
forest,  where  he  promises  to  explain  all  to  her  satisfaction. 
They  are,  however,  followed  thither  by  the  maiden  who  has 
nursed  Eogero,  who,  jealous  in  her  turn,  now  attacks  Brada- 
mant. Eogero,  infuriated  by  Bradamant 's  imminent  peril, 
is  about  to  slay  his  nurse  remorselessly,  when  an  enchanter's 
voice  proclaims  she  is  his  sister,  stolen  in  infancy!  All 
excuse  for  mutual  jealousy  being  thus  removed,  the  two 
women  agree  to  join  forces  and  fight  in  behalf  of  Charle- 
magne until  Eogero  can  discharge  his  obligations  to  the 
Saracens,  receive  baptism,  and  join  the  Christian  raiiks. 

Meantime  Astolf  o  has  ridden  off  on  the  hippogriff  to  the 
earthly  paradise,  where  he  has  interviews  with  sundry  saints 
and  apostles,  and  whence  St.  John  conveys  him  up  to  the 
moon.  In  that  appropriate  region  the  apostle  explains  that 
Orlando's  insanity  is  due  to  the  fact  he  loves  an  infidel! 
He  further  points  out  where  the  hero's  stray  wits  are  stored, 
and  directs  Astolfo  how  to  catch  them  in  a  vial  and  restore 
them  to  their  rightful  owner.  Then,  before  conveying 
Astolfo  back  to  earth,  St.  John  vouchsafes  him  a  glimpse 
of  the  Fates,  wearing  the  web  of  Destiny,  which  they  cast 


196  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

into  the  stream  of  Oblivion,  whence  only  a  few  shreds  are 
rescued  by  poets ! 

On  returning  from  this  eventful  trip  to  the  moon,  Astolf o 
joins  the  Saracens.  When  they  finally  capture  the  mad 
Orlando,  he  produces  his  vial,  and,  making  his  friend  inhale 
its  contents,  restores  him  to  his  senses.  His  mad  passion 
for  Angelica  being  now  a  thing  of  the  past,  Orlando  con- 
centrates all  his  efforts  to  conquer  the  Saracens  and  triumphs 
in  many  a  fight. 

Meantime  Rogero,  on  his  way  to  join  Bradamant,  has 
been  shipwrecked  on  an  island,  where  a  hermit  converts  him 
to  the  Christian  faith.  While  he  is  here,  Orlando  and 
Rinaldo  arrive  with  their  sorely  wounded  friend,  Oliver, 
whom  they  entrust  to  the  hermit's  care.  Not  only  is  Orlando 
sane  once  more,  but  Rinaldo,  having  drunk  the  waters  of 
the  contrary  fountain,  no  longer  loves  Angelica,  and  will- 
ingly promises  the  hand  of  his  sister  Bradamant  to  the  new 
convert.  But,  when  brother  and  prospective  bridegroom 
reach  court,  they  learn  Charlemagne  has  promised  Brada- 
mant to  a  Greek  prince,  to  whom  the  lady  has  signified  that 
ere  he  wins  her  he  must  fight  a  duel  with  her.  On  hearing 
that  the  Greek  prince  is  at  present  besieging  Belgrade, 
Rogero  hastens  thither,  and  performs  wonders  before  he 
falls  into  the  enemy's  hands.  But  the  Greek  prince  has 
been  so  impressed  by  Rogero 's  prowess  that  he  promises 
Viim  freedom  if  he  will  only  personate  him  in  the  dreaded 
duel  with  Bradamant.  Rogero  immediately  consents  to 
fight  in  the  prince's  armor,  and  defeats  Bradamant,  whom 
Charlemagne  thereupon  awards  to  the  Greek  prince. 

In  despair  at  having  forfeited  his  beloved,  Rogero  rides 
off  to  die  of  grief,  but  the  Greek  prince,  riding  after  him  to 
thank  him,  not  only  discovers  the  cacise  of  Rc^ero's  sorrow, 
but  generously  relinquishes  all  claim  to  Bfadamant  and 
volunteera  to  witness  her  marriage  to  Rogero.  The  courage 
shown  by  the  bridegroom  while  at  Belgrade  has  meantime 
so  impressed  the  Bulgarians,  that  an  embassy  arrives  to 
beg  him  to  mount  their  throne.    But  before  Rogero  can 


GERUSALEMME  LIBERATA  197 

assume  the  Bulgarian  crown  he  is  forced  to  conquer  and  slay 
the  boastful  Rodomont,  who  envies  his  exalted  position. 

Many  other  characters  appear  in  this  poem,  complicating 
the  plot  until  it  seems  hopelessly  involved  to  most  modern 
readers,  but,  owing  to  the  many  romantic  situations,  to  the 
picturesque  verse,  and  to  the  unflagging  liveliness  of  style, 
this  epic  is  still  popular  in  Italy.  It  has  besides  given  rise 
to  endless  imitations,  not  only  in  Italian  but  in  many  other 
languages.  It  forms  part  of  the  great  Charlemagne  Cycle, 
of  which  the  last  epic  is  Rieciardetto,  by  Portiguerra,  a 
priest  who  wagered  he  too  could  compose  a  string  of  ad- 
ventures like  those  invented  by  Ariosto.  He  won  his  wager 
by  adopting  the  characters  already  made  famous  by  Boiardo 
and  Ariosto,  and  selected  as  his  hero  a  younger  brother  of 
Rinaldo  mentioned  by  his  predecessors. 

GERUSALEMME  LIBERATA,  OR  JERUSALEM 
DELIVERED 

Torquato  Tasso,  one  of  the  three  great  Italian  poets,  was 
bom  at  Sorrento  in  1544,  and,  after  receiving  his  education 
in  various  Italian  cities,  conceived,  while  at  the  University 
of  Padua,  the  idea  of  writing  an  epic  poem,  using  an 
episode  in  the  First  Crusade  as  his  theme.  In  1572  Tasso 
became  attached  to  the  court  of  Perrara,  where  the  duke 
and  his  two  sisters  delighted  in  his  verses,  admired  his  pas- 
toral Aminta,  and  urged  him  to  finish  his  projected  epic. 

During  his  sojourn  at  this  court  Tasso  fell  in  love  with 
Eleonora,  sister  of  the  duke,  to  whom  he  read  the  various 
parts  of  his  epic  as  he  completed  them,  and  for  whose  sake 
he  lingered  at  Perrara,  refusing  offers  of  preferment  at 
Paris  and  at  Florence.  Although  he  completed  his  epic  in 
1575,  he  did  not  immediately  publish  it,  but  sent  copies  to 
Rome  and  Padua  for  criticism.  The  learned  men  to  whom 
he  submitted  his  poem  criticised  it  so  freely  that  the  poet's 
sensitive  nature  was  greatly  injured  thereby.  Almost  at 
the  same  time  the  duke  discovered  the  poet's  passion  for 
his  sister.    Furious  to  think  Tasso  should  have  raised  his 


198  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

eyes  to  a  princess,  yet  afraid  he  should  carry  his  talents 
elsewhere,  the  duke,  pretending  to  deem  him  insane,  placed 
him  under  close  surveillance.  While  Tasso  was  thus  a 
prisoner,  sundry  false  accusations  were  brought  against 
him  and  his  poem  was  published  without  his  consent. 

Although  Tasso  contrived  several  times  to  escape  from 
Ferrara,  he  invariably  came  back  there,  hoping  to  be  recon- 
ciled to  the  duke.  It  was  only  in  1586  that  he  left  this 
place  for  good  and  betook  himself  to  Rome  and  Naples, 
where  he  was  forced  to  live  on  charity.  Just  as  he  was 
about  to  be  publicly  crowned  in  Rome  for  his  epic,  he 
died  there,  at  the  age  of  fifty-two  (1595). 

The  epic  "Jerusalem  Delivered"  contains  an  account 
of  the  Crusade  of  1099  and  extends  over  a  period  of  forty 
days.  It  is  divided  into  twenty  cantos,  written  in  otfcava 
rima,  or  eight-rhymed  stanzas,  and,  owing  to  its  rhythmic 
perfection,  is  still  sung  by  Italian  bards  to  popular 
audiences. 

Canto  I.  After  stating  exactly  what  task  he  proposes  to 
perform  in  his  poem,  the  poet  describes  how  the  Eternal 
Father,  sitting  on  His  heavenly  throne,  gazes  down  upon 
the  plain  of  Tortosa,  where  the  Crusaders  are  assembled. 
Six  years  have  elapsed  since  they  set  out  from  Europe, 
during  which  time  they  have  succeeded  in  taking  Nicaea 
and  Antioch,  cities  now  left  in  charge  of  influential 
Crusaders.  But  Godfrey  of  Bouillon  is  pushing  on  with 
the  bulk  of  the  army,  because  he  is  anxious  to  wrest 
Jerusalem  from  the  hands  of  the  infidels  and  restore  it  to 
the  worship  of  the  true  God.  While  he  is  camping  on  this 
plain,  God  sends  Gabriel  to  visit  him  in  sleep  and  inspire 
him  with  a  desire  to  assemble  a  council,  where,  by  a  ringing 
speech,  he  will  rouse  the  Christians  to  immediate  action. 

On  awakening  from  this  vision,  Godfrey  loses  no  time 
in  convening  such  an  assembly,  and  there  eloquently  urges 
the  Christians  to  fight,  declaring  their  efforts  have  failed 
hitherto  mainly  because  they  have  lacked  purpose  and 
unity.  Hearing  this,  Peter  the  Hermit  suggests  the  Cru- 
saders should  select  one  chief,  whose  orders  they  will  obey, 


GERUSALEMME  LIBERATA  199 

and  thereupon  the  warriors  present  unanimously  elect  God- 
frey of  Bouillon  as  leader.  Having  secured  this  exalted 
post,  Godfrey  reviews  his  force,  thus  giving  the  poet  an 
occasion  to  enumerate  the  leaders  of  the  different  corps,  or 
armies,  and  explain  from  what  countries  they  come. 
Amongst  other  resounding  names,  the  poet  specially  men- 
tions Edward  and  his  fair  bride  Gildippe,  who,  unwilling 
to  be  parted  from  her  spouse,  has  donned  a  man's  armor 
and  followed  him  to  the  Crusade.  Among  the  bravest 
fighters  there,  he  also  quotes  Tancred,  who,  however,  seems 
listless,  and  has  accomplished  no  deed  of  valor  since  he 
beheld  near  a  fountain  and  fell  in  love  with  Glorinda,  a 
fair  Amazon. 

To  the  same  warbling  of  fresh  waters  drew, 
Arm'd,  but  unhelm'd  and  unforeseen,  a  maid; 
She  was  a  pagan,  and  came  thither  too 
To  quench  her  thirst  beneath  the  pleasant  shade; 
Her  beautiful  fair  aspect,  thus  display'd. 
He  sees;  admires;  and,  touch'd  to  transport,  glows 
With  passion  rushing  to  its  fountain  head, 
The  heart;  'tis  strange  how  quick  the  feeling  grows; 
Scarce  born,  its  power  in  him  no  cool  calm  medium  knows. 

Another  hero  is  Rinaldo  (the  same  as  the  French  Renaud 
de  Montauban),  who,  although  but  a  boy,  escaped  from 
his  foster  mother.  Queen  Mathilda,  to  go  and  fight  for  the 
deliverance  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre.  His  review  completed, 
Godfrey  of  Bouillon  orders  his  force  to  march  on  toward 
Jerusalem,  whence  he  wishes  to  oust  the  Sultan  Aladine 
(Saladin),  who  at  present  is  sorely  taxing  the  Christians 
to  obtain  funds  enough  to  make  war  against  the  advancing 
Crusaders. 

Canto  II.  Advised  by  the  sorcerer  Ismeno,  Aladine 
steals  the  image  of  the  Virgin  from  the  Christian  temple, 
and  sets  it  up  in  his  mosque,  where  he  resorts  to  all  manner 
of  spells  and  incantations  to  destroy  her  power.  During 
the  night,  however,  the  Virgin's  image  disappears  from 
the  mosque  and  cannot  be  found,  although  Aladine  offers 
great  rewards  for  its  restoration.  Finally,  he  decrees  that, 
unless  the  perpetrator  of  the  theft  denounces  himself,  he 


200  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

will  slay  all  tlie  Christians  in  the  town.  He  is  about  to 
execute  this  cruel  threat  when  Sophronia,  a  Christian  maid, 
suddenly  decides  to  sacrifice  herself  to  save  her  co-religion- 
ists. She  therefore  appears  before  Aladine,  declaring  she 
stole  the  image  from  the  temple,  whereupon  the  sultan  in 
anger  orders  her  bound  to  the  stake  and  burned  alive. 

Doom'd  in  tormenting  fire  to  die,  they  lay 
Hands  on  the  maid;  her  arms  with  rough  cords  twining, 
Eudely  her  mantle  chaste  they  tear  away, 
And  the  white  veil  that  o'er  her  droop'd  declining: 
This  she  endured  in  silence  unrepining, 
Yet  her  firm  breast  some  virgin  tremors  shook; 
And  her  warm  cheek,  Aurora's  late  outshining. 
Waned  into  whiteness,  and  a  color  took, 
Like  that  of  the  pale  rose  or  lily  of  the  brook. 

Scarcely  has  Sophronia  been  fastened  there,  and  while 
she  is  praying  for  God's  aid  to  endure  martyrdom  without 
flinching,  Olindo,  a  young  Christian,  deeming  it  impos- 
sible to  allow  a  girl  to  sacrifice  her  life,  rushes  forward, 
declaring  he  alone  committed  the  crime,  but  that  the 
maiden,  out  of  love  for  him,  has  assumed  his  guilt  to  save 
his  life.  Only  then  does  he  discover  that  the  maiden  tied 
to  the  stake  is  the  very  one  he  loves,  but  who  hitherto  has 
received  his  advances  coldly !  On  hearing  the  youth  accuse 
himself  of  having  stolen  the  image,  Aladine  questions  the 
maiden,  who  denies  it,  insisting  she  alone  is  to  blame.  There- 
upon the  sultan  decrees  both  shall  perish  in  the  flames, 
and  orders  them  tied  to  the  stake  back  to  back.  It  is  in 
this  position,  and  while  in  imminent  peril  of  death,  that 
the  young  man  deplores  the  fact  he  is  to  die  beside  the 
one  he  hoped  to  marry  and  with  whom  he  expected  to  spend 
a  long  and  happy  life.  The  executioners  are  about  to  set 
fire  to  the  pyre  where  these  generous  young  lovers  are  to 
end  their  days,  when  a  young  knight  steps  forward  loudly 
proclaiming  none  of  the  Christians  are  to  blame  for 
the  disappearance  of  the  image,  since  Allah  himself  re- 
moved it  from  the  temple  because  he  considered  it  desecra- 
tion to  have  such  an  image  within  its  walls.  This  young 
knight  turns  out  to  be  the  warrior  maid  Clorinda,  who 


GERUSALEMME  LIBERATA  201 

not  only  convinces  Aladine  that  the  young  people  are 
guiltless,  but  bribes  him  to  release  them,  in  exchange  for 
her  services  in  the  coming  war.  Touched  by  each  other's 
devotion,  the  young  couple  marry  as  soon  as  released,  and, 
instead  of  dying,  live  together  as  husband  and  wife. 

Restored  to  life  and  liberty,  how  blest. 
How  truly  blest  was  young  Olindo's  fate! 
For  sweet  Sophronia's  blushes  might  attest, 
That  Love  at  length  has  touch'd  her  delicate 
And  generous  bosom;  from  the  stake  in  state 
They  to  the  altar  pass;  severely  tried. 
In  doom  and  love  already  made  his  mate, 
She  now  objects  not  to  become  his  bride. 
And  grateful  live  with  him  who  would  for  her  have  died. 

Meanwhile  two  ambassadors  have  come  from  Egypt  to 
visit  Godfrey  in  his  camp,  and  try  iSrst  by  persuasions  and 
then  by  threats  to  dissuade  him  from  his  projected  attack 
upon  Jerusalem.  In  spite  of  aU  Alethes  and  Argantes  can 
say,  Godfrey  insists  upon  carrying  out  his  purpose,  and, 
after  dismissing  these  ambassadors  with  a  haughty  speech, 
marches  on  with  his  host. 

"  Know,  then,  that  we  have  borne  all  this  distress 
By  land  and  sea, — ^war,  want,  reverses — all! 
To  the  sole  end  that  we  might  gain  access 
To  sacred  Salem's  venerable  wall; 
That  we  might  free  the  Faithful  from  their  thrall. 
And  win  from  God  His  blessing  and  reward: 
From  this  no  threats  our  spirit  can  appal, 
For  this  no  terms  will  be  esteem'd  too  hard — 

Life,  honors,  kingdoms  lost,  or  dignity  debarr'd." 

Canto  III.  When  they  come  within  sight  of  Jerusalem, 
the  Crusaders,  overjoyed,  hail  the  Holy  City  with  cries  of 
rapture,  and,  falling  on  their  knees,  swear  to  deliver  it 
from  the  hands  of  the  infidels.  Seeing  them  advance,  the 
pagans  make  hasty  preparations  to  oppose  them,  and 
Clorinda,  at  the  head  of  a  small  force,  volunteers  to  make 
a  sortie  and  boldly  attacks  the  vanguard  of  the  Crusaders. 

From  the  topmost  tier  of  Jerusalem's  ramparts,  the 


THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Sultan  Aladine  watches  their  sortie,  having  beside  him 
Erminia,  daughter  of  the  late  king  of  Antioch,  whom  the 
Crusaders  have  sent  on  to  Jerusalem,  because  they  do  not 
care  to  detain  her  a  prisoner.  During  her  sojourn  in  her 
father's  town,  Erminia  has  learned  to  know  by  sight  all 
the  Crusaders,  and  during  her  brief  captivity  she  has  fallen 
in  love  with  Tancred,  who  was  detailed  to  guard  her.  She 
can  therefore  give  the  Sultan  Aladine  all  the  information 
he  wishes,  and  acts  as  cicerone  while  the  battle  is  going 
on.  From  this  point  of  vantage  the  sultan  and  princess 
watch  Clorinda  and  Tancred  meet,  and  behold  how,  after 
a  lively  encounter,  Tancred  strikes  off  the  helmet  of  his 
opponent,  whose  sex  is  revealed  by  the  streaming  of  her 
long  golden  hair.  At  sight  of  the  wonderful  maiden  with 
whom  he  has  fallen  in  love,  Tancred  refuses  to  continue 
the  fight,  although  Clorinda  urges  him  to  strike.  Undaunted 
by  the  fact  that  she  is  his  foe,  Tancred  not  only  refuses  to 
strike,  but  immediately  begins  to  sue  the  beautiful  maiden, 
who  refuses  to  listen  to  him,  and  is  soon  swept  away  by 
Saracen  forces,  which  intervene  between  her  and  Tancred. 

A  battle  now  rages,  in  the  course  of  which  various 
knights  perform  great  deeds,  but,  although  Godfrey  proves 
victor  on  this  occasion,  he  loses  Dudon,  chief  of  his  Ad- 
venturous Band  and  one  of  the  bravest  warriors  in  his 
army.  While  giving  her  explanations  to  Aladine  in  regard 
to  the  fight  waged  beneath  their  eyes,  Erminia  carefully 
explains  she  feels  deadly  hatred  for  Tancred,  although  the 
truth  is  she  loves  him  dearly  and  is  greatly  relieved  to 
see  him  escape  from  the  fray  uninjured. 

Many  people  having  died  in  the  course  of  this  action, 
a  truce  is  agreed  upon  so  that  both  sides  may  bury  their 
dead,  and  so,  many  funerals  are  celebrated  with  all  due 
pomp  and  ceremony.  Next  the  crusading  force  decides 
that  siege-engines  and  towers  will  be  necessary  to  enable 
them  to  scale  the  high  walls  of  Jerusalem.  They  therefore 
send  out  a  force  of  woodsmen  to  hew  the  trees  which  are 
to  serve  for  the  construction  of  the  required  towers. 


GERUSALEMME  LIBERATA  203 

The  duke,  when  thus  his  piety  had  paid 
The  fun'ral  rites,  and  shed  his  duteous  tears. 
Sent  all  his  skill'd  mechanics  to  invade 
The  forest,  guarded  by  a  thousand  spears; 
Veil'd  by  low  hills  it  stood,  the  growth  of  years,— 
A  Syrian  shepherd  pointed  out  the  vale. 
And  thither  brought  the  camp-artificers 
Ta  fabricate  the  engines  doom'd  to  scale 
The  City's  sacred  towers  and  turn  her  people  pale. 

Canto  IV.  The  scene  now  changes  to  the  infernal  re- 
gions, where  Satan  deems  it  time  to  frustrate  the  Christians' 
aims,  because  it  would  ill-suit  diabolical  ends  to  have  them 
recover  possession  of  Jerusalem.  Not  only  does  Satan 
stimulate  his  hosts  by  reminding  them  of  their  forfeited 
bliss,  but  he  encourages  them  to  thwart  the  Christians  by 
reminding  them  of  the  great  deeds  they  have  already  done. 
His  eloquence  is  not  expended  in  vain,  for  the  fiends  all 
approve  of  his  suggestions,  and,  when  the  council  is  over, 
flit  forth,  intent  upon  fomenting  dissension  among  the 
leaders  of  the  Crusade,  and  hindering  their  attempts  in 
every  other  way  possible. 

One  demon  in  particular  is  to  determine  a  wizard  to 
send  his  niece  Armida  to  ensnare  the  Christians.  This 
enchantress,  decked  out  with  all  the  charms  beauty  and 
toilet  can  bestow,  soon  appears  in  the  Christian  camp,  where, 
falling  at  Godfrey's  feet,  she  proceeds  to  relate  a  tale  of 
fictitious  wrongs,  claiming  to  be  heiress  of  the  city  of 
Damascus,  whence  she  has  been  ejected,  and  vowing  if  she 
could  only  secure  the  aid  of  a  few  knights  she  would  soon 
recover  her  realm.  In  return  for  such  aid  as  she  im- 
plores from  the  Christians,  she  promises  to  do  homage  to 
them  for  her  realm,  and  even  pledges  herself  to  receive 
baptism.  Her  artful  speeches,  the  flattery  which  she 
lavishes  upon  Godfrey,  and  her  languishing  glances  are  all 
calculated  to  persuade  him  to  grant  her  request;  but  the 
Crusader  is  so  bent  upon  the  capture  of  Jerusalem  that 
nothing  can  turn  him  aside  from  his  purpose. 

But,  although  Godfrey  himself  is  proof  against  all 
Armida 's  blandishments,  his  knights  are  not,  and  among 


204  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

those  who  succumb  to  the  lady's  charms  is  his  own  brothei* 
Eustace,  who  begs  Ms  permission  to  take  ten  knights  and 
accompany  the  damsel  to  Damascus.  Although  Armida 
professes  great  gratitude  for  this  help,  she  entices  many 
other  Crusaders  to  desert  the  camp,  by  casting  languishing 
glances  at  them  and  making  each  man  whom  she  looks 
upon  believe  she  loves  him  only. 

All  arts  th'  enchantress  practised  to  beguile 
Some  new  admirer  in  her  well-spread  snare; 
Nor  used  with  all,  nor  always  the  same  wile. 
But  shaped  to  every  taste  her  grace  and  air: 
Here  cloister'd  is  her  eye's  dark  pupil,  there 
In  full  voluptuous  languishment  is  roll'd; 
Now  these  her  kindness,  those  her  anger  bear, 
Spurr'd  on  or  check'd  by  bearing  frank  or  cold. 
As  she  perceived  her  slave  was  scrupulous  or  bold. 

Canto  v.  Not  content  with  beguiling  many  knights, 
Armida  further  foments  a  quarrel  between  Kinaldo  and 
Gemando,  Prince  of  Norway,  in  regard  to  the  command 
of  the  Adventurous  Band,  which  is  now  without  a  leader. 
In  the  course  of  this  quarrel,  Einaldo  is  so  sorely  taunted 
by  his  opponent  that,  although  the  Crusaders  are  pledged 
not  to  fight  each  other,  he  challenges  and  slays  Gemando. 
Then,  afraid  to  be  called  to  trial  and  sentenced  to  death 
for  breaking  the  rules  of  the  camp,  Rinaldo  flees  to  Egypt. 

On  perceiving  how  greatly  his  army  is  weakened  by  the 
desertion  of  so  many  brave  men,  Godfrey  is  dismayed — 
all  the  more  so  because  he  hears  the  Egyptian  army  is 
coming  to  attack  him,  and  because  the  supplies  which  he 
expected  have  been  cut  off. 

Canto  VI.  The  Egyptian  army  boasts  of  no  braver 
warrior  than  Argantes,  who  sallies  forth  to  challenge  the 
Christians,  bidding  Clorinda  foUow  him  at  a  short  distance, 
and  come  to  his  rescue  should  it  be  necessary.  Although 
Argantes  has  summoned  Godfrey  to  come  forth  and  fight 
him,  it  is  Tancred  who  is  chosen  as  champion  for  the 
Christians,  but  as  he  draws  near  his  opponent  a  glimpse 
of  the  fair  Clorinda 's  face  makes  him  forget  everything 
but  her. 


GERUSALEMME  LIBEBATA  205 

He  noted  not  where  the  Circassian  rear'd 
His  frightful  face  to  the  affronted  skies, 
But  to  the  hill-top  where  his  Love  appear'd, 
Turn'd,  slack'ning  his  quick  pace,  his  am'rous  eyes. 
Till  he  stood  steadfast  as  a  rock,  all  ice 
Without,  all  glowing  heat  within; — the  sight 
To  him  was  as  the  gates  of  Paradise; 
And  from  his  mind  the  mem'ry  of  the  fight 
Pass'd  like  a  summer  cloud,  or  dream  at  morning  light. 

One  of  the  knights  in  his  train,  seeing  he  is  not  going 
to  fight,  spurs  forward  and  meets  Argantes,  by  whom  he 
is  defeated.  On  seeing  this  knight  fall,  TaJicred,  suddenly 
brought  to  his  senses,  starts  forward  to  avenge  him,  and 
combats  with  such  fury  that  Argantes'  armor  fairly  rings 
with  the  blows  which  rain  down  upon  him.  Argantes, 
however,  is  nearly  as  brave  as  Tanered,  so  the  battle  rages 
until  nightfall,  when  the  heroes  are  separated  by  the  heralds, 
although  both  vow  they  wiU  renew  the  struggle  on  the 
morrow.  But,  when  they  have  ceased  fighting  and  both 
discover  they  have  serious  wounds,  their  respective  armies 
decree  a  six-days'  truce  and  pledge  themselves  to  await 
the  result  of  the  duel. 

The  wounded  Argantes  has  returned  to  Jerusalem,  where 
Erminia  uses  her  magic  balsams  to  heal  his  wounds,  secretly 
wishing  meanwhile  that  she  might  lavish  her  care  upon 
Tanered,  whom  she  still  loves.  So  ardent  is  her  desire  to 
behold  him,  that  she  finally  appropriates  Clorinda's  armor 
and  rides  off  to  the  Christian  camp,  sending  a  messenger 
ahead  to  announce  a  lady  is  coming  to  heal  Tanered  if  he 
will  give  her  a  safe-conduct  to  his  tent.  Tanered  imme- 
diately sends  word  the  lady  wiU  be  welcome,  but  mean- 
while the  Christians,  catching  a  glimpse  of  the  waiting 
Erminia,  and  mistaking  her  for  Clorinda  owing  to  her 
armor,  endeavor  to  capture  her. 

Canto  VII.  To  escape  from  her  pursuers,  Erminia  flees 
into  a  trackless  forest,  where,  after  wandering  some  time, 
she  meets  a  shepherd,  who  gives  her  an  asylum  in  his  hut. 
There  she  turns  shepherdess,  but  does  not  forget  Tanered, 
whose  name  she  carves  in  many  a  tree.    Meantime  the  news 


206  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

spreads  through  the  camp  that  Clorinda  has  been  seen 
and  is  even  now  closely  pursued  by  a  troop  of  Christians. 
Hearing  this  Tancred,  disregarding  his  wounds,  sets  out 
to  find  her.  While  wandering  thus  in  the  forest,  weakened 
by  loss  of  blood,  he  is  captured  by  Armida,  the  enchantress, 
who  detains  him  in  a  dungeon,  where  he  eats  his  heart  out 
for  shame  because  he  will  not  be  able  to  respond  when  the 
trumpets  sound  for  the  renewal  of  his  duel  with  Argantes. 

The  moment  having  come  for  this  battle  and  the  Cru- 
saders' champion  being  absent,  old  Count  Raymond  volun- 
teers to  meet  Argantes,  and  is  about  to  get  the  better  of 
him,  when  an  archer  from  the  wall  suddenly  discharges  a 
shaft  at  him.  Such  treachery  exasperates  the  Christians, 
who,  exclaiming  the  truce  has  been  broken,  precipitate 
themselves  upon  their  foes,  and  in  the  general  battle  which 
ensues  many  deeds  of  valor  are  performed. 

Canto  VIII.  During  this  battle  a  great  storm  arises, 
and  the  Christians,  who,  notwithstanding  their  courage, 
have  been  worsted,  beat  a  retreat,  finding  on  their  return 
to  camp  that  one  of  their  companions,  defeated  and  mor- 
tally wounded,  has  despatched  a  messenger  to  carry  his 
sword  to  Rinaldo.  The  Italian  force  thereupon  accuses 
Godfrey  of  having  done  away  with  Rinaldo,  but  he  not 
only  succeeds  in  refuting  such  an  accusation,  but  sentences 
his  chief  detractor  to  death. 

Canto  IX.  Sultan  Solyman  of  Nieae,  who  has  joined 
Sultan  Aladine  of  Jerusalem,  now  comes  to  attack  the 
Christians  by  night,  assisted  by  many  fiends,  but  the  arch- 
angel Michael  warns  the  crusaders  of  what  is  coming  and 
enables  them  to  get  the  better  of  their  foes  by  bringing 
back  the  troops  which  followed  Armida  to  Damascus.  In 
this  encounter  a  Christian  knight  slays  a  page  of  the  sultan, 
who,  seeing  this  child  dead,  experiences  such  grief  that, 
after  avenging  his  death,  he  wishes  to  withdraw  temporarily 
from  the  battle. 

"Let  Godfrey  view  once  more,  and  smile  to  view 
My  second  exile; — soon  shall  he  again 
See  me  in  arms  retum'd,  to  vex  anew 


GERUSALEMME  LIBERATA  207 

His  haiinted  peace  and  never  stable  reign: 
Yield  I  do  not;  eternal  my  disdain 
Shall  be  as  are  my  wrongs;  though  fires  consume 
My  dust,  immortal  shall  my  hate  remain; 
And  aye  my  naked  ghost  fresh  wrath  assume, 
Through  life  a  foe  most  fierce,  but  fiercer  from  the  tomb!  " 

Canto  X.  The  sultan,  after  journeying  part  way  back 
to  Egypt,  pauses  to  rest,  and  is  visited  by  a  wizard,  who 
spirits  him  over  the  battle-field  and  back  to  Jerusalem  in  a 
magic  chariot.  This  pauses  at  a  hidden  cave,  the  entrance 
to  an  underground  passage,  by  which  they  secretly  enter 
the  sultan's  council  chamber. 

Ismeno  shot  the  lock;   and  to  the  right 
They  climb'd  a  staircase,  long  untrod,  to  which 
A  feeble,  glimm'ring,  and  malignant  light 
Stream'd  from  the  ceiling  through  a  window'd  niche; 
At  length  by  corridors  of  loftier  pitch 
They  sallied  into  day,  and  access  had 
To  an  illumined  hall,  large,  round,  and  rich; 
Where,  sceptred,  crown'd,  and  in  dark  purple  clad. 
Sad  sat  the  pensive  king  amid  his  nobles  sad. 

Solyman,  overhearing  as  he  enters  some  of  the  nobles  pro- 
pose a  disgraceful  peace  and  the  surrender  of  Jerusalem, 
hotly  opposes  such  a  measure,  and  thus  infuses  new  cour- 
age into  their  breasts. 

Canto  XI.  Meantime  Godfrey  of  Bouillon,  having 
buried  his  dead,  questions  the  knights  who  were  lured 
away  by  Armida,  and  they  relate  that,  on  arriving  near 
the  Dead  Sea,  they  were  entertained  at  a  sumptuous 
banquet,  where  they  were  given  a  magic  draught,  which 
transformed  them  for  a  time  into  sportive  fishes.  Armida, 
having  thus  demonstrated  her  power  over  them,  threatened 
to  use  it  to  keep  them  prisoners  forever  unless  they  would 
promise  to  abjure  their  faith.  One  alone  yielded,  but  the 
rest,  delivered  as  prisoners  to  an  emissary  from  Egypt, 
were  met  and  freed  from  their  bonds  by  the  brave  Rinaldo, 
who,  instead  of  accompanying  them  back  to  camp,  rode  off 
toward  Antioch. 

The  Christians  now  prepare  for  their  final  assault,  and, 


208  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

advised  by  Peter  the  Hermit,  walk  in  solemn  procession 
to  the  Mount  of  Olives,  where,  after  singing  hymns,  all 
devoutly  receive  Communion.  Thus  prepared  for  anything 
that  may  betide,  they  set  out  on  the  morrow  to  scale  the 
city  walls,  rolling  ahead  of  them  their  mighty  engines  of 
war,  by  means  of  which  they  hope  to  seize  the  city. 

Most  of  the  Crusaders  have  laid  aside  their  heavy  armor 
and  assumed  the  light  gear  of  foot-soldiers  the  better  to 
scale  the  walls,  upon  which  Clorinda  is  posted,  and  whence 
she  shoots  arrow  after  arrow  at  the  assailants.  Wounded 
by  one  of  the  missiles  flung  from  the  wall,  Godfrey  seeks 
his  tent,  where,  the  physician  failing  to  extract  the  barb, 
an  angel  brings  a  remedy  from  heaven  which  instantly 
cures  the  wound. 

Canto  XII.  After  awhile,  seeing  she  does  not  do  as 
much  execution  as  she  would  like,  Clorinda  proposes  to 
Argantes  that  they  steal  out  of  the  city  by  night,  and  by 
chemical  means  set  fire  to  the  engines  with  which  the 
Christians  are  threatening  to  capture  the  city.  Willingly 
Argantes  promises  to  accompany  her  in  this  perilous 
venture,  but  her  slave,  hoping  to  dissuade  her,  now  reveals 
to  her  for  the  first  time,  the  story  of  her  birth,  and  informs 
her  she  is  the  daughter  of  a  Christian.  He  adds  her  dying 
mother  besought  him  to  have  her  child  baptized,  a  duty 
he  had  failed  to  perform,  although  repeatedly  warned  by 
visions  to  repair  his  neglect.  But,  although  similar  visions 
have  frequently  haunted  the  dreams  of  Clorinda  herself, 
she  persists  in  her  undertaking  to  set  fire  to  the  war 
machines. 

She  has  no  sooner  done  so,  however,  than  the  Christians, 
aroused,  set  out  in  pursuit  of  her  and  of  her  companions. 
Bravely  covering  their  retreat  so  they  can  reenter  the  city 
safely,  Clorinda  delays  her  own  until  the  gates  closed.  But 
with  great  presence  of  mind,  the  warrior-maid,  who  is 
wearing  black  armor,  mingles  in  the  darkness  with  the 
Crusaders.  None  of  these  suspects  she  does  not  belong  to 
their  ranks,  save  Tanered,  who  follows  her  to  a  remote 
place  beneath  the  walls,  where  he  challenges  her  to  a  deadly 


GERUSALEMME  LIBEBATA  209 

fight,  little  divining  who  she  is.  The  battle  proves  fierce, 
and  both  combatants  strike  until  Tancred  runs  his  sword 
through  his  opponent.  Dying,  Clorinda  reveals  her  name 
and  faintly  begs  Tancred  to  baptize  her  before  life  leaves 
her  body. 

"Friend!  thou  hast  won;  I  J)ardon  thee,  and  0 
Forgive  thou  me!     I  fear  not  for  this  clay. 
But  my  dark  soul — pray  for  it,  and  bestow 
The  sacred  rite  that  laves  all  stains  away:  " 
Like  dying  hymns  heard  far  at  close  of  day. 
Sounding  I  know  not  what  in  the  sooth'd  ear 
Of  sweetest  sadness,  the  faint  words  make  way 
To  his  fierce  heart,  and,  touch'd  with  grief  sincere. 
Streams  from  his  pitying  eye  th'  involuntary  tear. 

Such  a  request  cannot  be  disregarded,  so,  although 
Tancred  is  frantic  with  grief  at  the  thought  of  having  slain 
his  beloved,  he  hurries  to  a  neighboring  stream,  draws 
water  in  his  helmet,  and,  after  baptizing  his  dying  sweet- 
heart, swoons  over  her  body.  His  companions,  finding  him 
there,  convey  him  and  Clorinda 's  body  to  his  tent,  where 
they  vainly  try  to  rouse  him,  but  he  is  so  overcome  with 
melancholy  that  he  thinks  of  nothing  but  joining  Clorinda 
in  her  tomb. 

Canto  XIII.  Meantime  the  foe,  having  heard  of 
Clorinda 's  death,  vow  to  avenge  her,  while  the  Crusaders 
seek  materials  to  reconstruct  their  towers.  Hastening  to 
a  forest  near  by,  they  discover  a  wizard  has  cast  such  a 
spell  upon  it  that  all  who  try  to  enter  are  frightened  away. 
Finally  Tancred  enters  this  place,  and,  although  he  is  met 
by  earthquakes  and  other  portents,  he  disregards  them  all, 
and  starts  to  cut  down  a  tree.  But,  when  blood  gushes 
from  its  stem,  and  when  Clorinda 's  voice  informs  him  he 
has  wounded  her  again,  he  flees  without  having  accom- 
plished his  purpose.  Heat  and  drought  now  cause  further 
desertions  and  discourage  the  Crusaders,  until  Godfrey, 
full  of  faith  in  the  justice  of  their  cause,  prays  so  fervently 
that  rain  is  vouchsafed  them. 

Canto  XIV.  In  a  dream  Godfrey  is  now  admonished  to 
proceed,  and  told,  if  he  can  only  persuade  Rinaldo  to  re- 
14 


210  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

turn,  Jerusalem  will  soon  fall  into  the  hands  of  the 
Christians.  Because  no  one  knows  where  Rinaldo  has  gone, 
Godfrey  despatches  two  knights  in  quest  of  him.  After 
some  difficulty  they  interview  a  wizard,  who,  after  exhibit- 
ing to  them  his  magic  palace,  tells  them  Armida,  to  punish 
Rinaldo  for  rescuing  his  companions  from  her  clutches,  has 
captured  him  by  magic  means  and  borne  him  off  to  her 
wonderful  garden  in  the  Fortunate  Isles.  The  hermit  then 
bestows  upon  them  a  golden  wand  which  will  defeat  all 
enchantments,  and  bids  them  hasten  to  the  Fortunate  Isles. 

Canto  XV.  Hastening  off  to  the  seashore  armed  with 
this  golden  wand,  these  two  knights  find  a  magic  vessel, 
wherein  they  sail  with  fabulous  speed  over  the  sea,  and 
through  the  Strait  of  Gibraltar,  out  into  the  western  ocean, 
the  nymph  at  the  helm  meanwhile  informing  them  that  this 
is  the  road  Columbus  is  destined  to  travel.  Sailing  thus 
they  reach  the  Fortunate  Isles,  where,  notwithstanding 
many  enchantments  and  temptations  brought  to  bear  to 
cheek  their  advance,  they,  thanks  to  the  golden  wand,  force 
their  way  into  Armida 's  wonderful  garden. 

Canto  XVI. 

These  windings  pass'd,  the  garden-gates  unfold, 
And  the  fair  Eden  meets  their  glad  survey, — 
Still  waters,  moving  crystals,  sands  of  gold, 
Herbs,  thousand  flowers,  rare  shrubs,  and  mosses  gray; 
Sunshiny  hillocks,  shady  vales;  woods  gay, 
And  grottoes  gloomy,  in  one  view  combined. 
Presented  were;  and  what  increased  their  play 
Of  pleasure  at  the  prospect,  was,  to  find 
Nowhere  the  happy  Art  that  had  the  whole  design'd. 

So  natural  seem'd  each  ornament  and  site. 
So  well  was  neatness  mingled  with  neglect. 
As  though  boon  Nature  for  her  own  delight 
Her  mocker  mock'd,  till  fancy's  self  was  check'd; 
The  air,  if  nothing  else  there,  is  th'  effect 
Of  magic,  to  the  sound  of  whose  soft  flute 
The  blooms  are  born  with  which  the  trees  are  deck'd; 
By  flowers  eternal  lives  th'  eternal  fruit. 
This  running  richly  ripe,  while  those  but  greenly  shoot. 

Then,  peeping  cautiously  through  the  trees,  they  be- 
hold Rinaldo  reclining  amid  the  flowers,  his  head  resting 


GERUSALEMME  LIBERATA  211 

in  the  enchantress'  lap.  Biding  their  time  they  watch 
Armida  leave  the  enamoured  knight,  then  step  forward  and 
bid  him  gaze  into  the  magic  mirror  they  have  brought. 
On  beholding  in  its  surface  a  reflection  of  himself  as  he 
reaUy  is,  Binaldo,  horrified,  is  brought  to  such  a  sense  of 
his  depraved  idleness,  that  he  springs  to  his  feet  and 
proposes  to  leave  immediately  with  his  companions.  They 
are  about  to  depart  without  bidding  farewell  to  the  fair 
enchantress,  when  she  pursues  them,  and,  after  vainly 
pleading  with  Binaldo  to  stay  with  her,  proposes  to  join 
him  in  any  quality.  "When  he  abruptly  rejects  her  ad- 
vances and  sails  away,  Armida,  disappointed  and  infuriated 
because  she  has  been  scorned,  hastens  ofiE  to  the  Egyptian 
camp. 

Canto  XVII.  There  she  joins  the  Christians'  enemies, 
declaring  she  dreams  of  naught  save  slaying  Binaldo,  and 
takes  an  important  part  in  the  review  which  the  poet  de- 
scribes minutely.  To  compass  her  ends  the  artful  Armida, 
whose  charms  have  so  lavishly  been  displayed  that  they 
have  fired  every  breast,  promises  to  belong  to  the  warrior 
who  will  bring  her  Binaldo 's  head.  Meanwhile  this  hero 
has  returned  to  Palestine,  and  is  met  by  the  wizard,  who, 
after  reproving  him  for  his  dalliance,  gives  him  wonderful 
armor,  and  exhibits  on  the  shield  the  great  deeds  of  an- 
cestors of  the  Duke  of  Perrara. 

Canto  XVIII.  Newly  armed,  Binaldo  now  returns  to 
the  crusaders'  camp,  apologizes  to  Godfrey  for  breaking 
the  rules  of  the  crusade,  relates  his  adventures,  and,  after 
humbly  confessing  his  sins,  starts  forth  to  brave  the  spells 
of  the  magic  forest.  Not  only  does  he  penetrate  within 
its  precincts,  but,  undeterred  by  all  Armida 's  enchant- 
ments, cuts  down  a  tree,  although,  in  hopes  of  staying  his 
hand,  her  voice  accuses  him  of  cruelly  wounding  her !  No 
sooner  has  this  tree  fallen  than  the  spell  is  broken;  so 
other  trees  are  cut  down  without  difiSeulty,  engines  built, 
and  all  is  prepared  for  a  new  assault  on  Jerusalem. 

Godfrey  is  particularly  eager  to  make  this  new  attempt 
immediately,  because  a  carrier-pigeon  has  been  caught  bear- 


212  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

iag  a,  message  from  the  Egyptians  to  the  Sultan  of  Jeru- 
saleim,  apprising  him  that  within  five  days  they  will  come 
to  his  aid.  During  this  assault  of  Jerusalem,  a  sorcerer  on 
the  walls,  working  against  the  Christians,  is  slain  by  a  rock. 
Soon  after,  thanks  to  the  efforts  of  the  Crusaders,  the 
banner  with  the  Cross  floats  over  the  walls  of  Jerusalem! 

Then  raised  the  Christians  all  their  long  loud  shout 
Of  Victory,  joyful,  resonant,  and  high; 
Their  words  the  towers  and  temples  lengthen  out; 
To  the  glad  sound  the  mountains  make  reply: 

Then  the  whole  host  pours  in,  not  o'er  the  walls 
Alone,  but  through  the  gates,  which  soon  unclose, 
Batter'd  or  burnt;  and  in  wide  ruin  falls 
Each  strong  defence  that  might  their  march  oppose. 
Bages  the  sword;  and  Death,  the  slaught'rer,  goes 
'Twixt  Wo  and  Horror  with  gigantic  tread. 
From  street  to  street;  the  blood  in  torrents  flows. 
And  settles  in  lagoons,  on  all  sides  fed. 
And  swell'd  with  heaps  on  heaps  of  dying  and  of  dead. 

Canto  XIX.  Tancred,  scaling  a  fortress,  meets  and 
slays  Argantes,  receiving  at  the  same  time  so  grievous  a 
wound  that  he  swoons  on  the  battlefield.  Meantime  Godfrey 
has  sent  a  spy  to  the  Egyptian  camp  to  find  out  whether  the 
army  is  really  coming  on  to  Jerusalem.  This  spy,  meeting 
Erminia  there,  induces  her  not  only  to  reveal  aU  the  Egyp- 
tians' plans  (including  a  plot  to  slay  Godfrey),  but  to  go 
back  with  him.  While  they  journey  along  together  to  rejoin 
the  Christian  forces,  Erminia  relates  her  adventures,  saying 
that  while  she  was  playing  shepherdess,  some  freebooters 
seized  her  and  carried  her  to  the  Egyptian  camp,  where  she 
was  placed  under  Armida's  protection.  Her  story  is  just 
finished  when  they  perceive  what  appears  to  be  a  lifeless 
warrior.  By  the  red  cross  on  iis  armor  the  spy  recognizes 
a  Christian,  and  further  investigation  enables  him  to 
identify  Tancred.  Erminia — ^who  has  owned  she  loves  him 
— ^now  takes  possession  of  him,  binds  up  his  wounds  with 
her  hair  ( !),  and  vows  she  will  nurse  him  back  to  health. 

Canto  XX.     Warned  by  his  spy  that  the  Egyptians 


GERUSALEMME  LIBERATA  213 

mean  to  send  sundry  of  their  number  to  mix,  during  the 
battle,  with  his  body-guard  and  kill  him,  Godfrey  changes 
the  ensigns  of  his  men,  and  thus  discovers  the  conspirators, 
who  are  promptly  put  to  death.  Seeing  the  Egyptian  army 
advance,  Godfrey,  in  a  stirring  speech,  urges  his  men  to 
do  their  best  for  the  Holy  Sepulchre,  and  thereby  stimu- 
lates them  to  fight  so  bravely  that  many  of  them  lose  their 
lives.  Among  the  slain  are  Gildippe  and  her  husband,  who, 
having  fought  together  side  by  side  throughout  the  cam- 
paign, die  together  and  are  buried  in  the  same  tomb.  The 
other  party,  however,  is  far  more  unfortunate,  for  the 
Saracens  lose  the  sultans  Aladine  and  Solyman,  the  former 
slain  by  Godfrey  and  the  latter  by  Rinaldo. 

Meantime  Armida,  wavering  between  love  and  hate, 
tries  to  shoot  Rinaldo,  then  flees,  but,  a  little  later,  seeing 
him  slay  Solyman,  she  tries  to  kill  herself.  It  is  at  this 
moment  that  Rinaldo  approaches  her,  and  offers  to  marry 
her  provided  she  will  be  converted.  Not  only  does  she  now 
promise  conversion  and  marriage,  but  accompanies  Rinaldo 
back  to  the  camp. 

The  Crusaders  having  completely  defeated  their  foes 
and  secured  possession  of  Jerusalem,  march  with  solemn 
hymns  of  praise  to  the  Holy  Sepulchre,  where  all  kneel, 
thanking  God  for  permitting  them  to  deliver  it  from  the 
hands  of  the  heathen.  It  is  with  these  thanks  that  the 
poem  ends. 

Thus  conquer'd  Godfrey;  and  as  yet  there  gloVd 
A  flush  of  glory  in  the  fulgent  West, 
To  the  freed  City,  the  once  loved  abode 
Of  Christ,  the  pious  chief  and  armies  press'd: 
Arm'd  as  he  was,  and  in  his  sanguine  vest, 
With  all  his  knights  in  solemn  cavalcade, 
He  reach'd  the  Temple;  there,  supremely  bless'd. 
Hung  up  his  arms,  his  banner'd  spoils  display'd, 
And  at  the  sacred  Tomb  his  vow'd  devotions  paid. 


EPICS  OP  THE  BRITISH  ISLES 

Although  the  name  Celt  was  given  by  the  early  Greeks 
to  all  the  people  living  West  of  their  country,  the  Romans 
included  under  that  name  only  the  tribes  occupying  the 
countries  now  known  as  Prance,  Western  Switzerland,  Ger- 
many west  of  the  Rhine,  Belgium,  and  the  British  Isles. 
Blocked  together  under  a  generic  name,  the  Celtic  nation 
was,  however,  composed  of  many  tribes,  with  separate 
dialects  and  customs.  It  has  been  surmised  that  two  of 
these  tribes,  the  British  and  Irish,  early  took  possession 
of  England  and  Ireland,  where  they  flourished  and  sub- 
divided until  disturbed  by  invasions  of  various  kinds. 

The  Celts  all  practised  what  is  termed  the  Druidic  cult, 
their  priests  being  poets,  bards,  or  gleemen,  who  could  com- 
pose or  recite  in  verse,  ritual,  laws,  and  heroic  ballads. 
During  the  four  hundred  years  of  Roman  occupation,  the 
Celts  in  England  became  somewhat  Romanized,  but  the 
Irish,  and  their  near  relatives  the  Scots,  were  less  influenced 
by  Latin  civilization.  It  is  therefore  in  Ireland,  Scotland, 
and  Wales  that  the  oldest  traces  of  Celtic  literature  are 
found,  for  the  bards  there  retained  their  authority  and 
acted  as  judges  after  Christianity  had  been  introduced,  and 
as  late  as  the  sixth  century.  Although  St.  Patrick  is  re- 
ported to  have  forbidden  these  Irish  bards  to  continue 
their  pagan  incantations,  they  continued  to  exert  some 
authority,  and  it  is  said  Irish  priests  adopted  the  tonsure 
which  was  their  distinctive  badge.  The  bards,  who  could 
recite  and  compose  poems  and  stories,  accompanying  them- 
selves on  a  rudimentary  harp,  were  considered  of  much 
higher  rank  than  those  who  merely  recited  incantations. 
They  transmitted  poems,  incantations,  and  laws,  orally 
only,  and  no  proof  exists  that  the  pagan  Irish,  for  instance, 
committed  any  works  to  writing  previous  to  the  intro- 
duction of  Christianity  in  their  midst. 

The  heroic  tales  of  Ireland  from  a  large  and  well-marked 

214 


EPICS  OF  THE  BRITISH  ISLES  215 

epic  cycle,  the  central  tale  of  the  series  being  the  anonymous 
"Cattle  of  Cooly,"  wherein  is  related  the  war  waged  by 
the  Irish  Queen  Mab  against  her  husband  for  the  possession 
of  a  mystic  brown  bull.  In  the  course  of  this  war  the 
chief  hero,  Cuchulaind,  makes  himself  famous  by  defend- 
ing the  country  of  Ulster  single-handed !  The  still  extant 
tales  of  this  epic  cycle  number  about  thirty,  and  give  in 
detail  the  lives  of  hero  and  heroine  from  birth  to  death, 
besides  introducing  many  legends  from  Celtic  mythology. 
The  oldest  MS.  version  of  these  tales,  in  mingled  prose  and 
verse,  dates  back  to  the  twelfth  century,  and  is  hence  about 
as  venerable  as  the  Edda. 

The  Fennian  or  Oisianic  poems  and  tales  form  another 
famous  Irish  cycle,  Finn,  or  Fingal,  their  hero,  having 
acted  as  commander  for  a  body  of  mercenaries  in  the  third 
century.  His  poet  son,  Oisin  (the  Ossiah  of  later  Romance) , 
is  said  to  have  composed  at  least  one  of  the  poems  in  the 
famous  Book  of  Leinster.  Between  the  twelfth  century 
and  the  middle  of  the  fifteenth,  this  Fennian  epos  took  on 
new  life,  and  it  continued  to  grow  until  the  eighteenth  cen- 
tury, when  a  new  tale  was  added  to  the  cycle. 

The  names  of  a  few  of  the  early  Irish  poets  have  been 
preserved  in  Irish  annals,  where  we  note,  for  instance, 
Bishop  Fiance,  author  of  a  stiU  extant  metrical  life  of 
St.  Patrick,  and  Dalian  FrogaeU,  one  of  whose  poems  is  in 
the  "Book  of  the  Dun  Cow,"  compiled  before  1106.  Up 
to  the  thirteenth  century  most  of  the  poets  and  harpers 
used  to  include  Scotland  in  their  circuit,  and  one  of  them, 
Muiredhach,  is  said  to  have  received  the  surname  of  "  the 
Scotchman,"  because  he  tarried  so  long  in  that  country. 

When,  after  the  fifteenth  century,  Irish  literature  be- 
gan to  decline,  Irish  poems  were  recast  in  the  native  Scotch 
dialect,  thus  giving  rise  to  what  is  known  as  Gaelic  liter- 
ature, which  continued  to  flourish  until  the  Reformation. 
Samples  of  this  old  Gaelic  or  Erse  poetry  were  discovered 
by  James  Macpherson  in  the  Highlands,  taken  down  from 
recitation,  and  used  for  the  English  compilation  known  as 
the  Poems  of  Ossian.    Lacking  sufficient  talent  and  learn- 


216  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

ing  to  remodel  these  fragments  so  as  to  produce  a  real 
masterpiece,  Macpherson — vfho  erroneously  termed  his  work 
a  translation — not  only  incurred  the  sharpest  criticism, 
but  was  branded  as  a  plagiarist. 

The  "Welsh,  a  poetic  race  too,  boast  of  four  great  poets, — 
Taliessin,  Aneurin,  Llywarch  Hen,  and  Myrden  (Me:flin). 
These  composed  poems  possessing  epic  qualities,  wherein 
mention  is  made  of  some  of  the  characters  of  the  Arthurian 
Cycle.  One  of  the  five  Welsh  MSS.,  which  seem  of  suffi- 
cient antiquity  and  importance  to  deserve  attention,  is  the 
Book  of  Taliessin,  written  probably  during  the  fourteenth 
century.  The  Welsh  also  possess  tales  in  verse,  either  his- 
torical or  romantic,  which  probably  antedated  the  extant 
prose  versions  of  the  same  tales.  Eleven  of  these  were 
translated  by  Lady  Charlotte  Guest,  and  entitled  Mabin- 
ogion  (Tales  for  Children),  although  only  four  out  of  the 
eleven  deserve  that  name.  But  some  of  these  tales  are  con- 
nected with  the  great  Arthurian  cycle,  as  Arthur  is  the 
hero  par  excellence  of  Southern  Wales,  where  many  places 
are  identified  with  him  or  his  court. 

Although  almost  as  little  is  known  of  the  historical  Arthur 
as  of  the  historical  Roland,  both  are  heroes  of  important 
epic  cycles.  Leader  probably  of  a  small  band  of  warriors, 
Arthur  gradually  became,  in  the  epics,  first  general-in- 
chief,  then  king,  and  finally  emperor  of  all  Britain.  It  is 
conjectured  that  the  Arthurian  legends  must  have  passed 
from  South  Wales  into  Cornwall,  and  thence  into  Armor- 
ica,  "where  it  is  probable  the  Round  Table  was  invented." 
Enriched  by  new  accretions  from  time  to  time,  the  Arthur- 
ian cycle  finally  included  the  legend  of  the  Holy  Grail, 
which  must  have  originated  in  Provence  and  have  been 
carried  into  Brittany  by  jongleurs  or  travelling  minstrels. 

It  has  been  ascertained  that  the  legend  of  Arthur  was 
familiar  among  the  Normans  before  Geoffrey  of  Monmouth 
wrote  his  books,  and  it  certainly  had  an  incalculable  forma- 
tive influence  on  European  literature,  much  of  which  can  be 
"traced  back  directly  or  indirectly  to  these  legends."  It 
was  also  a  vehicle  for  that  element  which  we  call  chivalry, 


EPICS  OF  THE  BRITISH  ISLES  217 

which  the  church  infused  into  it  to  fashion  and  mould  the 
rude  soldiers  of  feudal  times  into  Christian  knights,  and,  as 
it  "expanded  the  imagination  and  incited  the  minds  of  men 
to  inquiry  beyond  the  conventional  notions  of  things,"  it 
materially  assisted  in  creating  modem  society. 

After  thus  tracing  the  Celtic  germs  and  iafluenee  in 
English  literature,  it  becomes  necessary  to  hark  back  to 
the  time  of  the  Tehtonic  invasions,  since  English  thought 
and  speech,  manners  and  customs  are  all  of  Teutonic  origin. 
The  invaders  brought  with  them  an  already  formed  lan- 
guage and  literature,  both  of  which  were  imposed  upon  the 
people.  The  only  complete  extant  northern  epic  of  Danish- 
English  origin  is  Beowulf,  of  which  a  synopsis  follows,  and 
which  was  evidently  sung  by  gleemen  in  the  homes  of  the 
great  chiefs.  Apart  from  Beowulf,  some  remains  of 
national  epic  poetry  have  come  down  to  us  in  the  fine  frag- 
ments of  Finnsburgh  and  Waldhere,  another  version  of 
Walter  of  Aquitaiae. 

There  are  also  the  Legends  of  Havelock  the  Dane,  of 
King  Horn,  of  Beves  of  Hamdoun,  and  of  Guy  of  Warwick, 
aU  four  of  which  were  later  turned  into  popular  prose 
romances.  Intense  patriotic  feeling  also  gave  birth  to  the 
Battle  of  Maldon,  or  Bryhtnoth's  Death,  an  ancient  poem, 
fortunately  printed  before  it  was  destroyed  by  fire.  This 
epic  relates  how  the  Viking  Anlaf  came  to  England  with  93 
ships,  and,  after  hanying  the  coast,  was  defeated  and 
slain  in  battle. 

The  earliest  Christian  poet  in  England,  C'ffidmon,  in- 
stead of  singing  of  love  or  fighting,  paraphrased  the  Scrip- 
tures, and  depicted  the  creation  in  such  eloquent  lines  that 
he  is  said  to  have  inspired  some  of  the  passages  in  Milton's 
Paradise  Lost.  Chief  among  the  religious  poems  ascribed 
to  Csedmon,  are  Genesis,  Exodus,  and  Daniel,  but,  although 
in  general  he  strictly  conforms  with  the  Bible  narrative,  he 
prefixed  to  Genesis  an  account  of  the  fall  of  the  angels, 
and  thus  supplied  Milton  with  the  most  picturesque  feature 
of  his  theme. 

Next  come  the  epic  poems  of  Cynewulf,  Crist,  Juliana, 


218  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Elene,  and  Andreas,  also  written  in  alliterative  verse.  In 
Elene  the  poet  gives  us  the  legend  of  finding  of  the  cross  ^ 
by  the  empress  Helena,  dividing  his  poem  into  fourteen 
cantos  or  fitts. 

It  is  in  Gildas  and  Nennius'  Historia  Britonum  that 
we  find  the  first  mention  of  the  legendary  colonization  of 
Britain  and  Ireland  by  refugees  from  Troy,  and  of  the 
exploits  of  Arthur  and  the  prophesies  of  Merlin.  This 
work,  therefore,  contains  some  of  the  "germs  of  fables 
which  expanded  into  Geoffrey  of  Monmouth's  History  of 
Britain,  which  was  written  in  Latin  some  time  before  1147," 
although  this  historian  claims  to  derive  his  information  from 
an  ancient  British  book  of  which  no  trace  can  be  found. 

There  is,  besides,  a  very  curious  yet  important  legend 
cycle,  in  regard  to  a  letter  sent  from  Heaven  to  teach  the 
proper  observation  of  Sunday.  The  text  of  this  letter  can 
be  found  in  old  English  in  Wulfstan's  homilies.  Besides 
sacred  legends,  others  exist  of  a  worldly  nature,  such  as  the 
supposed  letter  from  Alexander  to  Aristotle,  the  Wonders 
of  the  East,  and  the  Story  of  Apollonius  of  Tyre.  The 
first  two,  of  course,  formed  part  of  the  great  Alexander 
cycle,  while  the  latter  supplied  the  theme  for  Pericles  of 
Tyre. 

With  the  Norman  Conquest,  French  became  the  literary 
language  of  England,  and  modem  romance  was  born.  Ro- 
mance cycles  on  "the  matter  of  France"  or  Legends  of 
Charlemagne,  and  on  "the  matter  of  Britain"  or  Legends 
of  Arthur,  became  popular,  and  Geoffrey  of  Monmouth 
freely  made  use  of  his  imagination  to  fill  up  the  early 
history  of  Britain,  for  his  so-called  history  is  in  reality  a 
prose  romance,  whence  later  writers  drew  themes  for  many 
a  tale. 

Walter  Map,  bom  on  the  border  of  Wales  in  1137,  is 
credited  with  the  no  longer  extant  Latin  prose  romance 
of  Lancelot  du  Lac,  which  included  the  Quest  of  the  Holy 
Grail  and  the  Death  of  Arthur.  Besides  Wace's  Brut,  we 
have  that  of  Layamon,  and  both  poets  not  only  explain  how 

•See  the  author's  "Legends  of  the  Virgin  and  Christ." 


EPICS  OF  THE  BRITISH  ISLES  219 

Britain's  name  is  derived  from  Brut, — a  member  of  Priam's 
family  and  refugee  from  Troy, — ^but  go  on  to  give  the 
history  of  other  eeirly  kings  of  Britain,  including  Arthur. 
They  often  touch  the  true  epic  note, — as  in  the  wrestling 
match  between  Corineus  and  the  giant, — use  similes  drawn 
from  every-day  life,  and  supply  us  with  legends  of  King 
Lear  and  of  Cymbeline. 

It  was  toward  the  end  of  the  twelfth  century  that 
Arthur  reached  the  height  of  his  renown  as  romantic  hero, 
the  "matter  of  Britain"  having  become  international  prop- 
erty, and  having  been  greatly  enriched  by  poets  of  many 
climes.  By  this  time  Arthur  had  ceased  to  be  a  king  of 
Britain,  to  become  king  of  a  fairyland  and  chief  exponent 
of  chivalric  ideals  and  aims. 

To  name  all  the  poets  who  had  a  share  in  developing  the 
Arthurian  Legend  would  prove  an  impossible  task,  but 
Nennius,  Gildas,  Geoffrey  of  Monmouth,  Wace,  Layamon, 
Benoit  de  St.  Maur,  Chrestien  de  Troyes,  Marie  de  Prance, 
Hartmann  von  der  Aue,  and  Wolfram  von  Eschenbaeh 
have,  in  English,  French,  and  German,  helped  to  develop 
the  "matter  of  Britain,"  and  have  managed  to  connect  it 
with  "the  matter  of  France." 

During  the  age  of  metrical  romances  (1200  to  1500),  all 
the  already  extant  cycles  were  remodelled  and  extended. 
Besides,  not  only  were  Greek  and  Latin  epics  translated  so 
as  to  be  within  reach  of  aU,  but  one  country  freely  bor- 
rowed from  another.  Thus,  the  French  romances  of  Huon 
de  Bordeaux  and  of  the  Four  Sons  of  Aymon  found  many 
admirers  in  England,  where  the  former  later  supplied 
Shakespeare  with  some  of  the  characters  for  a  Midsummer 
Night's  Dream.  It  was  to  offset  the  very  popular  romance 
of  Alexander,  that  some  patriotic  poet  evolved  the  romance 
of  Richard  Cceur  de  Lion,  explaining  how  this  king  earned 
his  well-known  nickname  by  wrenching  the  heart  out  of  a 
lion! 

Some  of  these  romances,  such  as  Flores  and  Blanche- 
flour,  have  "the  voluptuous  qualities  of  the  East,"  make 
great  use  of  magic  of  all  kinds,  and  show  the  idyllic  side 


220  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

of  love.  The  tragedy  of  love  is  depicted  in  the  romance 
of  Tristram  and  Iseult,  where  a  love-potion  plays  a  promi- 
nent part.  But,  although  knightly  love  and  valor  are 
the  stock  topics,  we  occasionally  come  across  a  theme  of 
Christian  humility,  like  Sir  Isumbras,  or  of  democracy,  as 
in  the  Squire  of  Low  Degree  and  in  the  Ballads  of  Robin 
Hood. 

With  the  advent  of  Chaucer  a  new  poet,  a  new  lan- 
guage, and  new  themes  appear.  Many  of  his  Canterbury 
tales  are  miniature  epics,  borrowed  in  general  from  other 
writers,  but  retold  with  a  charm  all  his  own.  The  Knight's 
Tale,  or  story  of  the  rivalry  in  love  of  Palamon  and 
Arcite,  the  tale  of  Gamelyn,  and  that  of  Troilus  and  Cres- 
sida,  all  contain  admirable  epic  passages. 

Spenser,  our  next  epic  poet,  left  us  the  unfinished 
Faerie  Queene,  an  allegorical  epic  which  shows  the  influence 
of  Ariosto  and  other  Italian  poets,  and  contains  exquisitely 
beautiful  passages  descriptive  of  nature,  etc.  His  allegor- 
ical plot  affords  every  facility  for  the  display  of  his  grace- 
ful verse,  and  is  outlined  in  another  chapter. 

There  are  two  curious  but  little-known  English  epics, 
William  Warner's  chronicle  epic  entitled  "Albion's  Eng- 
land" (1586),  and  Samuel  Daniel's  "Civil  Wars."  The 
first,  beginning  with  the  flood,  carries  the  reader  through 
Greek  mythology  to  the  Trojan  War,  and  hence  by  means 
of  Brut  to  the  beginnings  of  English  history,  which  is  then 
continued  to  the  execution  of  Maiy  Stuart.  The  second 
(1595)  is  an  epic,  in  eight  books,  on  the  Wars  of  the  Roses. 
Drayton  also  wrote,  on  the  theme  of  the  Civil  Wars,  an 
epic  entitled  "The  Barons'  Wars,"  and  undertook  a  de- 
scriptive and  patriotic  epic  in  "Polyolbion,"  wherein  he 
makes  a  tour  of  England  relating  innumerable  local  legends. 

Abraham  Cowley  composed  an  epic  entitled  "Davideis," 
or  the  troubles  of  David.  He  begins  this  work  in  four 
books  with  a  description  of  two  councils  held  in  Heaven 
and  hell  in  regard  to  the  life  of  this  worthy. 

Dryden  was  not  only  a  translator  of  the  classic  epics, 
but  projected  an  epic  of  his  own  about'  Arthur.    Almost 


EPICS  OF  THE  BRITISH  ISLES  221 

at  the  same  time  Pope  was  planning  to  write  one  on  Brut, 
but  he  too  failed  to  carry  out  his  intentions,  and  is  best 
known  as  the  translator  of  the  Iliad,  although  some  author- 
ities claim  the  "  Rape  of  the  Lock  "  is  a  unique  sample  of 
the  epopee  galante. 

The  poet  Keats,  whose  life  was  so  short,  left  us  a  com- 
plete mythological  epic  in  "Bndymion,"  a  fragment  of  one 
in  "Hyperion,"  and  a  reproduction  of  one  of  the  old  ro- 
mances in  "Isabella,  or  a  Pot  of  Basil." 

Shelley,  Keats'  contemporary,  wrote  poems  abounding 
in  epic  passages, — ^"Alastor,  or  the  Spirit  of  Solitude," 
"The  Revolt  of  Mam,"  "Adonais,"  and  "Prometheus  Un- 
bound"; while  Byron's  epical  poems  are  "Manfred,"  "The 
Corsair,"  and  "Don  Juan";  and  Scott's,  "The  Lay  of  the 
Last  Minstrel,"  "Marmion,"  "The  Lady  of  the  Lake," 
and  "The  Bridal  of  Triermain." 

The  greatest  of  Coleridge's  poems,  "The  Ancient 
Mariner,"  is  sometimes  called  a  visionary  epic,  while  his 
"Christabel"  conforms  more  closely  to  the  old  roman 
d'aduenture. 

As  the  translator  of  the  epical  romances  of  "Amadis  de 
Gaule"  and  "Palmerin,"  Southey  won  considerable  re- 
nown ;  he  also  wrote  the  oriental  epics  ' '  Thalaba ' '  and ' '  The 
Curse  of  Kehama,"  as  well  as  epical  poems  on  "Madoc," 
"Joan  of  Arc,"  and  "Roderick,  the  Last  of  the  Goths." 

Moore,  although  preeminently  a  lyric  poet,  has  left  us 
the  eastern  epic  "LaUa  Rookh,"  and  Loekhart  some  "Span- 
ish Ballads"  which  paraphrase  the  Cid. 

Among  Macaulay's  writings  the  "Lays  of  Anraent 
Rome"  have  epic  qualities,  which  are  also  found  in  Leigh 
Hunt's  "Story  of  Rimini." 

The  plot  of  Tristram  has  been  utilized  both  by  Matthew 
Arnold  and  by  Swinburne,  while  William  and  Lewis  Morris 
have  rewritten  some  of  the  old  classic  stories  in  "The. 
Earthly  Paradise,"  the  "Life  and  Death  of  Jason,"  the 
"Defense  of  Guinevere,"  and  the  "Epic  of  Hades." 

It  was,  however,  the  Victorian  poet-laureate  Tennyson 
who  gave  the  Arthurian  Legend  its  latest  and  most  artistic 


222  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

touches  in  "Idylls  of  the  King."    Some  critics  also  claim 
as  an  example  of  the  domestic  epic  his  "Enoch  Arden." 

Among  recent  writers,  sundry  novelists  have  been  hailed 
as  authors  of  prose  epics.  Thomas  Westwood  has  com- 
posed in  excellent  verse  the  "Quest  of  the  Sangreall,"  Mrs. 
Trask  "Under  King  Constantine, "  a  notable  addition  to 
the  Arthurian  cycle,  and  Stephen  Philips  has  sung  of 
Ulysses  and  of  King  Alfred. 

BEOWULF  ^ 

Introduction.  The  only  Anglo-Saxon  epic  which  has 
been  preserved  entire  was  probably  composed  in  Sweden 
before  the  eighth  century,  and  taken  thence  to  England, 
where  this  pagan  poem  was  worked  over  and  Christianized 
by  some  Northumbrian  bard.  Although  some  authorities 
declare  it  dates  back  as  far  as  the  fifth  century,  most  afSrm 
it  must  have  been  composed  in  the  seventh.  The  present 
manuscript,  now  preserved  in  the  British  Museum,  dates 
back  to  the  tenth  century.  It  contains  some  3182  lines, 
and  is  written  in  alliterative  verse  (that  is  to  say,  that  all 
the  lines  are  written  in  pairs  and  that  each  perfect  pair 
contains  two  similar  sounds  in  the  first  line  and  one  in 
the  second) .  Although  the  author  of  Beowulf  is  unknown, 
the  poem  affords  priceless  hints  in  regard  to  the  armor, 
ships,  and  mode  of  life  of  our  early  Saxon  fore-fathers. 
Many  translations  of  the  poem  have  been  made,  some  in 
prose  and  others  in  verse,  and  the  epic  as  it  stands,  con- 
sisting of  an  introduction  and  forty-two  "Pits,"  is  the 
main  text  for  the  study  of  the  Anglo-Saxon  language. 

The  Epic.  Hrothgar,  King  of  Denmark,  traces  his 
origin  to  Skiold,  son  of  Odin,  who  as  an  infant  drifted  to 
Demnark's  shores.  This  child  lay  on  a  sheaf  of  ripe 
wheat,  surrounded  by  priceless  weapons,  jewels,  and  a 
wonderful  suit  of  armor,  which  proved  he  must  be  the 
scion  of  some  princely  race.    The  childless  King  and  Queen 

'  See  also  the  author's  "  Legends  of  the  Middle  Agesi" 


BEOWULF  223 

of  Denmark  therefore  gladly  adopted  him,  and  in  due  time 
he  succeeded  them  and  ruled  over  the  whole  country.  When 
he  died,  his  subjects,  placing  his  body  in  the  vessel  in  which 
he  had  come,  set  him  adrift. 

Men  are  not  able 
Soothly  to  tell  us,  they  in  halls  who  reside, 
Heroes  under  heaven,  to  what  haven  he  hied." 

Hrothgar,  his  descendant,  constructed  a  magnificent 
hall,  called  Heorot,  wherein  to  feast  his  retainers  and  en- 
tertain them  with  the  songs  of  the  northern  skalds. 

It  burned  in  his  spirit 
To  urge  his  folk  to  found  a  great  building, 
A  mead-hall  grander  than  men  of  the  era 
Ever  had  heard  of,  and  in  it  to  share 
With  young  and  old  all  of  the  blessings 
The  Lord  had  allowed  him,  save  life  and  retainers. 

The  night  of  the  inauguration  of  this  building,  the 
royal  body-guard  lay  down  in  the  hall  to  sleep ;  and,  when 
the  servants  entered  the  place  on  the  morrow,  they  were 
horrified  to  find  floor  and  walls  spattered  with  blood,  but 
no  other  trace  of  the  thirty  knights  who  had  rested  there 
the  night  before.  Their  ery  of  horror  aroused  Hrothgar, 
who,  on  investigating,  discovered  gigantic  footsteps  leading 
straight  from  the  hall  to  the  sluggish  waters  of  a  moun- 
tain tarn,  above  which  a  phosphorescent  light  always  hov- 
ered. These  footsteps  were  those  of  Grendel,  a  descendant 
of  Cain,  who  dwelt  in  the  marsh,  and  who  had  evidently 
slain  and  devoured  all  the  king's  men. 

Too  old  to  wield  a  sword  in  person,  Hrothgar  offered 
a  princely  reward  to  whoever  would  rid  his  country  of  this 
terrible  scourge.  But,  although  many  warriors  gladly 
undertook  the  task,  the  monster  proved  too  strong  for  all, 
and  none  save  a  minstrel — ^who  hid  in  one  corner  of  the 
hall — ever  succeeded  in  escaping  from  his  clutches.  This 
minstrel,  after  seeing  Grendel  feed  upon  his  companions, 

'All  the  quotations  in  this  chapter  are  taken  from  Hall's 
translation  of  "  Beowulf." 


224  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

was  so  impressed  by  the  sight,  that  he  composed  a  song 
about  it,  which  he  sang  wherever  he  went,  and  once  repeated 
for  the  entertainment  of  King  Higelae  and  his  nephew 
Beowulf.  In  answer  to  their  eager  questions,  the  bard 
averred  the  monster  still  existed  and  invariably  invaded 
the  haU  when  a  feast  was  held  there.  This  was  enough  to 
arouse  in  Beowulf  a  burning  desire  to  visit  Denmark  and 
rid  the  world  of  this  scourge.  Knowing  his  nephew  was 
very  brave  and  having  had  proof  of  his  endurance  (for  the 
young  man  had  once  in  the  course  of  a  swimming  match, 
stayed  in  the  water  five  whole  days  and  nights,  killing  many 
sea  monsters  who  came  to  attack  him),  Higelae  gladly 
allowed  him  to  depart  with  fourteen  chosen  companions. 
Thus  Beowulf  set  out  "over  the  Swan-Road"  for  Denmark, 
to  offer  his  services  to  the  king. 

The  foamy-necked  floater  fanned  by  the  breeze, 
Likest  a  bird,  glided  the  waters, 
Till  twenty  and  four  hours  thereafter 
The  twist-stemmed  vessel  had  travelled  such  distance 
That  the  sailing-men  saw  the  sloping  embankments. 
The  sea-cliffs  gleaming,  precipitous  mountains, 
Nesses  enormous:  they  were  nearing  the  limits 
At  the  end  of  the  ocean. 

On  seeing  a  vessel  with  armed  men  approach  their 
shores,  the  Danish  coast  guards  challenged  the  new-comers, 
who  rejoined  their  intentions  were  purely  friendly,  and 
begged  to  be  led  to  the  king.  There  Beowulf  and  his 
attendants — after  paying  their  respects  to  Hrothgar — 
offered  their  services  to  rid  him  of  the  terrible  scourge 
which  had  preyed  so  long  upon  his  people.  On  hearing 
this,  the  king  immediately  ordered  a  feast  prepared,  and 
at  its  close  allowed  Beowulf,  at  his  request,  to  remain 
alone  in  the  hall  with  his  men.  Aware  that  no  weapon 
could  pierce  the  armed  hide  of  the  uncanny  monster, 
Beowulf — who  had  the  strength  of  thirty  men — ^laid  aside 
his  armor  and  prepared  to  grapple  with  Grendel  by  main 
strength  when  he  appeared. 


BEOWULF  a25 

Then  the  brave-mooded  hero  bent  to  his  slumber. 
The  pillow  received  the  cheek  of  the  noble; 
And  many  a  martial  mere-thane  attending 
Sank  to  his  slumber. 

Just  as  the  chill  of  morning  invades  the  hall,  Beowulf 
hears  stealthy  steps  approaching  and  the  great  door  bursts 
open,  admitting  a  monster,  aU  enveloped  in  clammy  mist, 
which — ■pouncing  upon  one  of  the  men — crunches  his  bones 
and  greedily  drinks  his  blood.  Beowulf,  intently  watching 
the  fiend,  seeing  him  stretch  out  a  horny  hand  for  another 
victim,  suddenly  grasps  it  with  such  force  and  determina- 
tion that  the  monster,  notwithstanding  frantic  efforts,  can- 
not free  himself.  A  terrible  struggle  now  takes  place,  in 
the  course  of  which  Beowulf  and  Grendel,  wrestling  madly, 
overturn  tables  and  couches,  shaking  the  hall  to  its  very 
foundations.  Nevertheless,  Beowulf  chngs  so  fast  to  the 
hand  and  arm  he  had  grasped,  that  the  monster,  trying  to 
free  himself  by  a  mighty  jerk,  tears  his  arm  out  of  its 
socket  and  disappears,  uttering  a  blood-curdling  cry,  and 
leaving  this  trophy  in  his  foe's  grasp.  Mortally  wounded, 
Grendel  hastens  back  to  his  marsh,  leaving  a  trail  of  blood 
behind  him,  while  Beowulf,  exhausted  but  triumphant, 
proudly  exhibits  the  huge  hand  and  limb  which  he  has 
wrenched  from  the  monster,  declaring  it  will  henceforth 
serve  to  adorn  Heorot. 

When  Hrothgar  beholds  it  on  the  morrow  and  hears 
an  account  of  the  night's  adventures,  he  warmly  congratu- 
lates Beowulf,  upon  whom  he  bestows  rich  gifts,  and  in 
whose  honor  he  decrees  a  grand  feast  shall  be  held  in  this 
hall.  While  they  are  drinking  there  and  listening  to  the 
music  of  the  skalds  (who  sing  of  Sigmund  the  dragon- 
slayer  and  of  a  fight  at  Finnsburgh) ,  Wealtheow,  Queen  of 
Denmark,  appears  in  their  midst,  and  bestows  upon  Beowulf 
a  wonderful  necklace  and  a  ring  of  the  finest  gold,  bidding 
him  wear  them  in  memory  of  his  triumph. 

The  feast  over,  Hrothgar  escorts  his  guest  to  the  palace, 
where  he  is  to  rest  that  night,  leaving  his  own  men  to 
guard  Heorot,  for  all  feel  eonfident  Grendel  has  been  too 

15 


226  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

sorely  wounded  ever  to  appear  again.  But,  while  the  war- 
riors sleep  peacefully,  the  giant's  mother — an  equally 
hideous  monster — comes  into  the  haU,  secures  her  son's 
gory  arm  which  hangs  there  as  a  trophy,  and  bears  away 
Aeschere,  one  of  the  king's  friends. 

On  learning  of  this  loss  on  the  morrow,  Hrothgar  is 
overcome  with  grief,  and  Beowulf,  hearing  his  lamentations, 
suddenly  appears  to  inquire  what  has  occurred.  On  learn- 
ing the  ghastly  news,  he  volunteers  to  complete  his  work 
and  avenge  Aeschere  by  attacking  Grendel's  mother  in  her 
own  retreat.  But,  knowing  the  perils  he  is  facing,  he  makes 
his  arrangements  in  ease  he  should  never  return,  before 
following  the  bloody  traces  left  by  the  monsters.  Then  he 
hastens  to  the  pool,  where  he  finds  Aeschere 's  head  set 
aloft  as  a  trophy!  Gazing  down  into  the  depths,  Beowulf 
now  perceives  the  waters  are  darkly  tinged  with  the  mon- 
ster's blood,  but  nevertheless  plunges  boldly  into  their 
depths,  where  he  swims  about  a  whole  day  seeking  Grendel's 
retreat.  Guided  at  last  by  a  phosphorescent  gleam,  our 
hero  finally  reaches  a  cave,  after  slaying  on  the  way  a 
number  of  monsters  sent  to  cheek  his  advance.  On  nearing 
the  giants'  den,  a  strong  eddy  suddenly  sweeps  him  within 
reach  of  Grendel's  mother,  who,  clutching  him  fast,  flings 
him  on  the  floor,  and  is  trying  to  find  a  joint  in  his  armor, 
so  as  to  kill  him  with  her  knife,  when  Beowulf,  snatching 
a  sword  hanging  from  a  rocky  projection,  deals  her  so  fierce 
a  blow  that  he  severs  her  head  from  its  trunk. 

Then  he  saw  amid  the  war-gems  a  weapon  of  victory. 

An  ancient  giant-sword,  of  edges  a-doughty, 

Glory  of  warriors:  of  weapons  'twas  choicest, 

Only  'twas  larger  than  any  man  else  was 

Able  to  bear  in  the  battle-encounter, 

The  good  and  splendid  work  of  the  giants. 

He  grasped  then  the  sword-hilt,  knight  of  Scyldings, 

Bold  and  battle-grim,  brandished  his  ring-sword. 

Hopeless  of  living  hotly  he  smote  her. 

That  the  fiend-woman's  neck  firmly  it  grappled. 

Broke  through  her  bone-joints,  the  bill  fully  pierced  her 

Fate-curs6d  body,  she  fell  to  the  ground  then: 


BEOWULF  227 

The  hand  sword  was  bloody,  the  hero  exulted. 
The  brand  was  brilliant,  brightly  it  glimmered. 
Just  as  from  heaven  gem-like  shineth 
The  torch  of  the  firmament. 

The  blood  from  this  monster,  pouring  out  of  the  cave, 
mingles  with  the  waters  Andthout,  which  begin  to  seethe  and 
bubble  in  so  ominous  a  way  that  Hrothgar  and  his  men, 
exclaiming  Beowulf  is  dead,  sadly  depart.  The  hero's  at- 
tendants, however,  mindful  of  orders  received,  linger  at  the 
side  of  the  mere,  although  they  cherish  small  hope  of  ever 
beholding  their  master  again. 

Having  disposed  of  Grendel's  mother,  Beowulf  rushes 
to  the  rear  of  the  cave,  where,  finding  Grendel  dead,  he 
cuts  off  his  head,  and  with  this  trophy  makes  his  way  up 
through  the  tainted  waters,  which  melt  his  sword,  so  that 
he  has  nothing  but  the  hilt  left  on  reaching  the  shore. 

The  sword-blade  began  then. 
The  blood  having  touched  it,  contracting  and  shrivelling 
With  battle-icicles;  'twas  a  wonderful  marvel 
That  it  melted  entirely,  likest  to  ice  when 
The  Father  unbindeth  the  bond  of  the  frost  and 
Unwindeth  the  wave-bands.  He  who  wieldeth  dominion 
Of  times  and  of  tides:  a  truth-firm  Creator. 

It  is  just  as  his  followers  are  about  to  depart  that 
Beowulf  emerges  from  the  waters,  and,  when  they  behold 
his  trophy  and  hear  his  tale,  they  escort  him  back  in 
triumph  to  Heorot,  where  the  grateful  Danes  again  load 
him  with  presents. 

His  task  accomplished,  Beowulf  returns  home,  where 
he  bestows  the  necklace  he  has  won  upon  the  Queen  of  the 
Geats,  and  continues  faithfully  to  serve  the  royal  couple, 
even  placing  their  infant  son  upon  the  throne  after  their 
death,  and  defending  his  rights  as  long  as  he  lives.  Then 
the  people  elect  Beowulf  king,  and  during  a  reign  of  fifty 
years  he  rules  them  wisely  and  well.  Old  age  has  robbed 
Beowulf  of  part  of  his  fabulous  strength,  when  his  sub- 
jects are  suddenly  dismayed  by  the  ravages  of  a  fire-breath- 
ing dragon,  which  has  taken  up  its  abode  in  some  neighbor- 


228  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

ing  mountains,  where  he  gloats  over  a  hoard  of  glittering 
gold.  A  fugitive  slave  having  made  his  way  into  the 
monster's  den  during  one  of  its  absences  and  abstracted  a 
small  portion  of  its  treasure,  the  incensed  firedrake,  in 
revenge,  flies  all  over  the  land,  vomiting  fire  and  smoke  in 
every  direction,  and  filling  all  hearts  with  such  terror  that 
the  people  implore  Beowulf  to  deliver  them  from  this 
monster  too. 

Although  Beowulf  realizes  he  no  longer  enjoys  youthful 
vigor,  he,  nevertheless,  sets  out  bravely  with  eleven  men  to 
attack  the  monster.  On  reaching  the  mountain  goi^e,  he 
bids  his  small  troop  stand  still,  and,  advancing  alone,  chal- 
lenges the  dragon  to  come  forth.  A  moment  later  the 
mountain  shakes  as  a  fire-breathing  dragon  rushes  out  to 
attack  Beowulf,  who  feels  his  fiery  breath  even  through 
shield  and  armor.  With  deadly  fury  the  dragon  attacks 
the  warrior,  coiling  his  scaly  folds  around  and  around 
Beowulf,  who  vainly  slashes  at  him  with  his  sword,  for 
scales  made  him  invulnerable. 

Seeing  his  master  about  to  be  crushed  to  death,  Wiglaf 
— one  of  Beowulf's  followers — ^now  springs  forward  to  aid 
him,  thus  causing  sufficient  diversion  to  enable  Beowulf  to 
creep  beneath  the  dragon,  and  drive  his  sword  deep  into 
its  undefended  breast!  Although  the  monster's  coils  now 
drop  limply  away  from  his  body,  poor  Beowulf  has  been 
so  sorely  burned  by  its  breath  that  he  feels  his  end  is  near. 
Turning  to  his  faithful  follower,  he  thanks  him  for  his  aid, 
bidding  him  hasten  into  the  cave  and  bring  forth  the 
treasure  he  has  won  for  his  people,  so  he  can  feast  his 
eyes  upon  it  before  he  dies. 

"  Fare  thou  with  haste  now 
To  behold  the  hoard  'neath  the  hoar-grayish  stone, 
WeIl-Iov6d  Wiglaf,  now  the  worm,  is  a-lying. 
Sore-wounded  sleepeth,  disseized  of  his  treasure 
60  thou  in  haste  that  treasures  of  old  I 
Gold-wealth  may  gaze  on,  together  see  lying 
The  ether-bright  jewels,  be  easier  able, 
Having  the  heap  of  hoard-gems,  to  yield  my 
Life  and  the  land-folk  whom  long  I  have  governed." 


THE  ARTHURIAN  CYCLE  229 

Sure  that  the  monster  can  no  longer  molest  them,  the 
rest  of  the  warriors  press  forward  in  their  turn,  and  re- 
ceive the  farewells  of  their  dying  chief,  who,  after  rehears- 
ing the  great  deeds  he  has  done,  declares  he  is  about  to 
close  honorably  an  eventful  career.  When  he  has  breathed 
his  last,  his  followers  push  the  corpse  of  the  dragon  off  a 
cliff  into  the  sea,  and  erect  on  the  headland  a  funeral  bar- 
row for  Beowulf's  ashes,  placing  within  it  part  of  the 
treasure  he  won,  and  erecting  above  it  a  memorial,  or  bauta 
stone,  on  which  they  carve  the  name  and  deeds  of  the  great 
hero  who  saved  them  from  Grendel  and  from  the  fiery 
dragon. 

So  lamented  mourning  the  men  of  the  Geats, 
Pond-loving  vassals  the  fall  of  their  lord, 
Said  he  was  kindest  of  kings  under  heaven. 
Gentlest  of  men,  most  winning  of  manner, 
Friendliest  to  folk-troops  and  fondest  of  honor. 

THE  ARTHURIAN  CYCLE 

The  Arthurian  cycle  consists  in  a  number  of  epics  or 
romances  about  King  Arthur,  the  knights  of  his  Round 
Table,  or  the  ladies  of  his  court.  The  Anglo-Norman 
trouveres  arranged  these  tales  in  graduated  circles  around 
their  nucleus,  the  legend  of  the  Holy  Grail.  Next  in  im- 
portance to  this  saered  theme,  and  forming  the  first  circle, 
were  the  stories  of  Galahad  and  Percival  who  achieved  the 
Holy  Grail,  of  Launcelot  and  Blaine  who  were  favored  with 
partial  ghmpses  of  it,  and  of  Bors  who  accompanied  Gala- 
had and  Percival  in  their  journey  to  Sarras.  The  second 
circle  included  the  stories  of  Arthur  and  Guinevere,  of 
Geraint  and  Enid,  of  Tristan  and  Isolde,  of  Pelleas  and 
Ettarre,  of  Gareth  and  Lynette,  of  Gawain,  and  of  Bede- 
vere.  The  third  and  last  circle  dealt  with  the  epics  of  Mer- 
lin and  Vivien,  Uther  and  Igeme,  Gorlois,  and  Vortigern. 

To  give  a  complete  outline  of  the  adventures  which  be- 
fell all  these  knights  and  ladies  in  the  course  of  seventeen 
epics  and  romances, — of  which  many  versions  exist,  and  to 


230  THE  BOOK  OP  THE  EPIC 

which  each  new  poet  added  some  episode, — ^would  reqxiire 
far  more  space  than  any  one  volume  would  afford.  A  gen- 
eral outline  will  therefore  be  given  of  the  two  principal 
themes,  the  Quest  of  the  Holy  Grail  and  King  Arthur  and 
his  Round  Table,  mentioning  only  the  main  features  of  the 
other  epics  as  they  impinge  upon  these  two  great  centres. 

Some  of  the  greatest  writers  of  the  Arthurian  cycle  have 
been  Gildas,  Nennius,  Geoffrey  of  Monmouth,  Wace,  Robert 
de  Borron,  Marie  de  France,  Layamon,  Chrestien  de  Troyes, 
Benoit  de  St.  Maur,  Gaucher,  Manessier,  Gerbert,  Knot  de 
Provence,  Wolfram  von  Eschenbach,  Gottfried  von  Strass- 
burg,  Hartmann  von  der  Aue,  Malory,  Tennyson,  Swin- 
burne, Howard  Pyle,  Matthew  Arnold,  and  Wagner.  Still, 
almost  every  writer  of  note  has  had  something  to  say  on  the 
subject,  and  thus  the  Arthuriana  has  become  almost  as 
voluminous  as  the  Shakespeariana.  The  legend  of  Arthur, 
almost  unknown  before  the  twelfth  century,  so  rapidly  be- 
came popular  all  over  Europe,  that  it  was  translated  into 
every  language  and  recited  with  endless  variations  at  count- 
less firesides. 

Robert  de  Borron  is  said  to  be  mainly  responsible  for 
the  tale  of  Merlin,  the  real  poet  of  that  name  having  been  a 
bard  at  the  court,  first  of  Ambrosius  Aurelianus  and  then 
of  King  Arthur.  The  Merlin  of  the  romances  is  reported 
to  have  owed  his  birth  to  the  commerce  of  a  fiend  with  an 
unconscious  nun.  A  priest,  convinced  of  the  woman's 
purity  of  intention,  baptized  her  child  as  soon  as  bom, 
thus  defeating  the  plots  of  Satan,  who  had  hoped  the  son 
of  a  fiend  would  be  able  to  outwit  the  plans  of  the  Son  of 
Man  for  human  redemption.  In  early  infancy,  already, 
this  Merlin  showed  his  miraculous  powers,  for  he  testified 
in  his  mother's  behalf  when  she  was  accused  of  incon- 
tinency. 

Meantime  Constance,  King  of  England,  had  left  three 
sons,  the  eldest  of  whom,  Constantine,  had  entered  a  mon- 
astery, while  the  two  others  were  too  young  to  reign.  Drawn 
from  his  retirement  to  wear  a  crown,  Constantine  proved 
incapable  to  maintain  order,  so  his  general,  Vortigem,  with 


THE  ARTHURIAN  CYCLE  231 

the  aid  of  the  Saxon  leaders  Hengist  and  Horsa,  usurped 
his  throne.  Some  time  after,  wishing  to  construct  an 
impregnable  fortress  on  Salisbury  Plain,  Vortigem  sent 
for  a  host  of  masons,  who  were  dismayed  to  see  the  work 
they  had  done  during  the  day  destroyed  every  night. 

On  consulting  an  astrologer,  Vortigem  was  directed  to 
anoint  the  stones  with  the  blood  of  a  boy  of  five  who  had 
no  human  father.  The  only  child  corresponding  to  this 
description  was  Merlin,  who  saved  himself  from  untimely 
death  by  telling  the  king  that,  if  he  dug  down  and  drained 
the  lake  he  would  find,  he  would  discover  broad  stones  be- 
neath which  slept  two  dragons  by  day,  although  they  fought 
so  fiercely  at  night  that  they  caused  the  tremendous  earth- 
quakes which  shattered  his  walls.  These  directions  were 
followed,  the  dragons  were  roused,  and  fought  until  the 
red  one  was  slain  and  the  two-headed  white  one  disappeared. 
Asked  to  explain  the  meaning  of  these  two  dragons.  Merlin 
— ^the  uncanny  child — declared  the  white  dragon  with  two 
heads  represented  the  two  younger  sons  of  King  Constance, 
who  were  destined  to  drive  Vortigem  away.  Having  said 
this.  Merlin  disappeared,  thus  escaping  the  wrath  of 
Vortigern,  who  wished  to  slay  him. 

Soon  after,  the  young  princes  surprised  and  burned 
Vortigem  in  his  palace,  and  thus  recovered  possession  of 
their  father's  throne.  Then,  one  of  them  dying,  the  other, 
assuming  both  their  names,  became  Uther  Pendragon,  king 
of  Britain.  Such  was  his  bravery  that  during  his  reign  of 
seven  years  he  became  overlord  of  all  the  petty  kings  who 
had  meantime  taken  possession  of  various  parts  of  England. 
He  was  aided  in  this  work  by  his  prime-minister,  Merlin, 
whose  skiU  as  a  clairvoyant,  magician,  inventor,  and 
artificer  of  all  kinds  of  things — such  as  armor  which  noth- 
ing could  damage,  a  magic  mirror,  round  table,  ring,  and 
wonderful  buildings — ^was  of  infinite  service  to  his  master 
and  fired  the  imagination  of  all  the  poets. 

There  are  various  accounts  of  Arthur's  birth;  according 
to  one,  Uther  fell  in  love  with  Gorlois'  wife  Igerne,  who 
■was  already  mother  of  three  daughters.    Thanks  to  Merlin 's 


232  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

magic  arts,  Uther  was  able  to  visit  Igeme  in  the  guise  of  her 
husband,  and  thus  begot  a  son,  who  was  entrusted  to 
Merlin's  care  as  soon  as  bom.  Another  legend  declares 
that,  after  Gorlois'  death,  Uther  Pendragon  married  Igerne, 
and  that  Arthur  was  their  lawful  child.  Feeling  he  was 
about  to  die,  and  fearing  lest  his  infant  son  should  be  made 
away  with  by  the  lords  he  had  compelled  to  obedience, 
Uther  Pendragon  bade  Merlin  hide  Arthur  until  he  was 
old  enough  to  reign  over  Britain.  Merlin  therefore  secretly 
bore  the  babe,  as  soon  as  bom,  to  Sir  Ector,  who  brought 
Arthur  up  in  the  belief  he  was  the  younger  brother  of  his 
only  son,  Sir  Kay. 

Arthur  had  just  reached  eighteen  when  the  Archbishop 
of  Canterbury  besought  Merlin  to  select  an  overlord  who 
would  reduce  the  other  kings  to  obedience,  and  thus  restore 
peace,  law,  and  order  in  Britain.  Thereupon  Merlin  prom- 
ised him  a  king  would  soon  appear  whose  rights  none  would 
be  able  to  dispute.  Shortly  after,  on  coming  out  of  the 
cathedral  one  feast-day,  the  archbishop  saw  a  huge  block 
of  stone,  in  which  was  imbedded  an  anvil,  through  which 
was  thrust  a  beautiful  sword.  This  weapon,  moreover,  bore 
an  inscription,  stating  that  he  who  pulled  it  out  and  thrust 
it  back  would  be  the  rightful  heir  to  the  throne. 

Meantime  a  tournament  had  been  proclaimed,  and  Sir 
Kay,  having  broken  his  sword  while  fighting,  bade  his 
brother  Arthur  get  him  another  immediately.  Unable  to 
find  any  weapon  in  their  tent,  Arthi^r  ran  to  the  anvU, 
pulled  out  the  sword,  and  gave  it  to  Sir  Kay.  Seeing  it  in 
his  son's  hand,  Sir  Ector  inquired  how  it  had  been  obtained, 
and  insisted  upon  Arthur's  thrusting  it  back  and  taking  it 
out  repeatedly,  before  he  would  recognize  him  as  his  king. 
As  none  of  the  other  lords  could  move  the  sword,  and  as 
Arthur  repeatedly  proved  his  claim  to  it  on  the  great  feast- 
days,  he  became  overlord  of  all  the  petty  kings.  At  Sir 
Ector's  request  he  appointed  Sir  Kay  as  steward  of  his 
palace,  and,  thanks  to  the  help  of  Merlin  and  of  his  brave 
knights,  soon  subdued  the  rebels,  and  became  not  only 
master  of  all  England,  but,  if  we  are  to  believe  the  later 


THE  ARTHURIAN  CYCLE  233 

romances,  a  sort  of  English:  Alexander,  who,  after  crossing 
the  Alps,  became  Emperor  of  the  World ! 

During  his  reign  Arthur  fought  twelve  memorable 
battles,  and,  not  content  with  this  activity,  often  rode  out 
like  other  knights-errant  in  quest  of  adventure,  challenging 
any  one  who  wanted  to  fight,  rescuing  captives,  and  aiding 
damsels  in  distress.  In  these  encounters  Arthur  wore  the 
peerless  armor  made  by  Merlin,  and  sometimes  carried  a 
shield  so  brilliant  that  it  blinded  all  who  gazed  upon  it. 
It  was,  therefore,  generally  covered  with  a  close-fitting  case, 
which,  like  Arthur's  helmet,  bore  as  emblem  a  two-headed 
dragon.  Having  lost  his  divine  sword  in  one  encounter, 
Arthur  was  advised  by  Merlin  to  apply  for  another  to 
Nimue,  or  Nymue,  the  Lady  of  the  Lake.  She  immediately 
pointed  out  an  arm,  risiag  from  the  middle  of  the  lake, 
brandishing  a  magnificent  sword.  Springing  into  a  skiff 
near  by,  Arthur  was  miraculously  ferried  to  the  centre  of 
the  lake,  where,  as  soon  as  he  touched  the  sword,  the  mystic 
arm  disappeared.  Merlin  now  informed  Arthur  that,  fight- 
ing with  Excalibure,  his  wonderful  sword,  he  could  never 
be  conquered,  and  that  as  long  as  its  scabbard  hung  by 
his  side  he  could  not  be  wounded.  Later  on  in  the  story, 
Arthur,  having  incurred  the  anger  of  one  of  his  step-sisters, 
Morgana  the  Fay,  she  borrowed  Excalibure  under  pretext 
of  admiring  it,  and  had  so  exact  a  copy  of  it  made  that  no 
one  suspected  she  had  kept  the  magic  sword  until  Arthur 
was  wounded  and  defeated.  He,  however,  recovered  posses- 
sion of  Excalibure — ^if  not  of  the  scabbard — ^before  he 
fought  his  last  battle. 

Arthur  was  not  only  brave,  but  very  romantic,  for, 
Guinevere  having  bent  over  him  once  when  he  lay  half  un- 
conscious from  a  wound,  he  fell  so  deeply  in  love  with  her 
that  he  entered  her  father's  service  as  garden  boy.  There 
Guinevere  discovered  his  identity,  and,  guessing  why  he  had 
come,  teased  him  unmercifully.  Shortly  after,  a  neighbor- 
ing, very  ill-favored  king  declared  Guinevere's  old  father 
would  be  deprived  of  his  kingdom  unless  she  would  consent 


234  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

to  marry  him,  and  defied  in  single  combat  any  one  who 
ventured  to  object  to  this  arrangement. 

Arthur,  having  secretly  provided  himself  with  a  white 
horse  and  armor,  defeated  this  insolent  suitor,  and,  after 
a  few  more  thrilling  adventures,  arranged  for  his  marriage 
to  Guinevere  in  the  fall.  By  Merlin's  advice  he  also  b^ged 
his  future  father-in-law  to  give  him,  as  wedding  present, 
the  Round  Table  Merlin  had  made  for  Uther  Pendragon. 
This  was  a  magic  board  around  which  none  but  virtuous 
knights  could  sit.  When  led  to  a  iseat,  any  worthy  candidate 
beheld  his  name  suddenly  appear  on  its  back,  in  golden 
letters,  which  vanished  only  at  his  death,  or  when  he  became 
unworthy  to  occupy  a  seat  at  the  Round  Table.  Besides, 
on  one  side  of  Arthur's  throne  was  the  Siege  Perilous,  which 
none  could  occupy,  under  penalty  of  destruction,  save  the 
knight  destined  to  achieve  the  Holy  Grail. 

We  are  informed  that  Arthur  sent  his  best  friend  and 
most  accomplished  knight,  Launcelot,  to  escort  Guinevere 
to  Caerleon  on  Usk,  where  the  wedding  and  first  session  of 
the  Round  Table  were  to  take  place  on  the  self-same  day. 
It  seems  that,  when  this  Launcelot  was  a  babe,  his  parents 
had  to  flee  from  a  burning  home.  Overcome  by  sorrow  and 
wounds,  the  poor  father  soon  sank  dying  beside  the  road, 
and,  while  the  mother  was  closing  his  eyes,  the  Lady  of  the 
Lake  suddenly  rose  from  her  watery  home,  seized  the  babe, 
and  plunged  back  with  him  into  its  depths.  The  widowed 
and  bereft  woman-  therefore  entered  a  convent,  where  she 
was  known  as  the  Lady  of  Sorrows,  for  little  did  she  sus- 
pect her  son  was  being  trained  by  Pellias — ^husband  of  the 
Lady  of  the  Lake — ^to  become  the  most  famous  knight  of 
the  Round  Table.  At  eighteen  the  Lady  of  the  Lake  de- 
cided it  was  time  Launcelot  should  be  knighted.  So,  on  St. 
John's  eve — when  mortals  can  see  fairies — ^Bong  Arthur  and 
Sir  Ector  were  led,  by  a  mysterious  damsel  and  dwarf,  to 
a  place  where  Pellias  and  the  Lady  of  the  Lake  begged  them 
to  knight  their  protege  and  pupil,  who  was  henceforth  to 
be  known  as  Launcelot  of  the  Lake.    Not  only  did  Arthur 


THE  ARTHURIAN  CYCLE  235 

gladly  bestow  the  accolade  upon  the  young  man,  but  he 
took  him  with  him  to  Camelot. 

It  was  as  supreme  honor  and  mark  of  confidence  that 
Arthur  sent  Launcelot  to  get  Guinevere.  Some  legends 
claim  these  two  already  loved  each  other  dearly,  others  that 
they  fell  in  love  during  the  journey,  others  still  that  their 
guilty  passion  was  due  to  a  love  potion,  and  a  few  that 
Guinevere,  incensed  by  the  behavior  of  Arthur, — ^whora 
some  of  the  epics  do  not  depict  as  Tennyson's  "blameless 
king," — proved  faithless  in  revenge  later  on.  All  the 
versions,  however,  agree  that  Launcelot  cherished  an  in- 
curable, guilty  passion  for  Guinevere,  and  that  she  proved 
untrue  to  her  marriage  vows.  Time  and  again  we  hear  of 
stolen  meetings,  and  of  Launcelot 's  deep  sorrow  at  deceiving 
the  noble  friend  whom  he  continues  to  love  and  admire. 
This  is  the  only  blemish  in  his  character,  while  Guinevere  is 
coquettish,  passionate,  unfeeling,  and  exacting,  and  has 
little  to  recommend  her  aside  from  grace,  beauty,  and  per- 
sonal magnetism.  At  court  she  plays  her  part  of  queen 
and  lady  of  the  revels  with  consummate  skill,  and  we  have 
many  descriptions  of  festivities  of  all  kinds.  During  a 
maying  party  the  queen  was  once  kidnapped  by  a  bold 
admirer  and  kept  for  a  time  in  durance  vile.  Laixncelot, 
posting  after  her,  ruthlessly  cut  down  all  who  attempted 
to  cheek  him,  and,  his  horse  falling  at  last  beneath  him, 
continued  his  pursuit  in  a  wood-chopper's  cart,  although 
none  but  criminals  were  seen  in  such  a  vehicle  in  the 
Middle  Ages.  The  Knight  of  the  Cart  was,  however,  only  in- 
tent upon  rescuing  the  queen,  who  showed  herself  very  un- 
grateful, for  she  often  thereafter  taunted  him  with  this 
ride  and  laughed  at  the  gibes  the  others  lavished  upon  him. 
Twice  Guinevere  drove  Launcelot  mad  with  these  taunts, 
and  frequently  she  heartlessly  sent  him  ofE  on  dangerous 
errands. 

Launcelot,  however,  so  surpassed  all  the  knights  in  cour- 
age and  daring  that  he  won  all  the  prizes  in  the  tourna- 
ments. A  brilliant  series  of  these  entertainments  was  given 
by  the  king,  who,  having  found  twelve  large  diamonds  in 


236  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

the  crown  of  a  dead  king,  offered  one  of  them  as  prize  on 
each  occasion.  Launcelot,  having  secured  all  but  the  last, 
decided  to  attend  the  last  tournament  in  disguise,  after 
carefuUy  informing  king  and  queen  he  would  not  take  part 
in  the  game. 

Pausing  at  the  Castle  of  Astolat,  he  borrowed  a  blank 
shield,  and  left  his  own  in  the  care  of  Elaine,  daughter  of 
his  host,  who,  although  he  had  not  shown  her  any  attention, 
had  fallen  deeply  in  love  with  him.  As  further  disguise, 
Launcelot  also  wore  the  favor  Elaine  timidly  offered,  and 
visited  the  tournament  escorted  by  her  brother.  Once  more 
Launcelot  bore  down  all  rivals,  but  he  was  so  sorely 
wounded  in  the  last  encounter  that  he  rode  off  without  tak- 
ing the  prize.  Elaine's  brother,  following  him,  conveyed 
him  to  a  hermit's,  where  some  poets  claim  Elaine  nursed 
him  back  to  health.  Although  there  are  two  Elaines  in 
Launcelot 's  hfe,  i.e.,  the  daughter  of  Pelles  (whom  he  is 
tricked  into  marrying  and  who  bears  bim  Galahad)  and 
the  "lily  maid  of  Astolat," — some  of  the  later  writers 
fancied  there  was  only  the  latter.  Accordiag  to  some  ac- 
counts Launcelot  lived  happily  with  the  first  Elaine  in  the 
castle  he  had  conquered, — Joyous  Garde, — ^untal  Queen 
Guinevere,  consumed  by  jealousy,  summoned  them  both  to 
court.  There  she  kept  them  apart,  and  so  persecuted  poor 
Elaine  that  she  crept  off  to  a  convent,  where  she  died,  after 
bringing  Galahad  into  the  world  and  after  predicting  he 
would  achieve  the  Holy  Grail. 

The  other  Elaine, — as  Tennyson  so  beautifully  relates, 
a  dying  of  unrequited  love,  bade  her  father  and  brothers 
send  her  corpse  down  the  river  in  charge  of  a  dumb  boat- 
man. Everybody  knows  of  the  arrival  of  the  funeral  bai^e 
at  court,  of  the  reading  of  the  letter  in  Elaine's  dead  hand, 
and  of  Launcelot 's  sorrow  over  the  suffering  he  had  un- 
wittingly caused. 

Launcelot  and  Guinevere  are  not  the  only  examples  in 
the  Arthurian  Cycle  of  the  love  of  a  queen  for  her  hus- 
band's friend,  and  of  his  overwhelming  passion  for  the 


THE  BODY  OF  ELAINE  ON  ITS  WAY  TO  KING  ARTHUR  S  PALACE 

By  Guatave  Dore 


THE  ARTHURIAN  CYCLE  237 

wife  of  his  master.  Another  famovis  couple,  Tristram  and 
Iseult,^  also  claims  our  attention. 

The  legend  of  Tristram  was  already  known  in  the  sixth 
century,  and  from  that  time  until  now  has  been  periodically 
rewritten  and  embellished.  Like  most  mediaeval  legends,  it 
begins  with  the  hero 's  birth,  gives  in  detail  the  whole  story 
of  his  life,  and  ends  only  when  he  is  safely  dead  and  buried ! 

The  bare  outline  of  the  main  events  in  Tristram's  very 
adventurous  career  are  the  elopement  of  his  mother,  a  sister 
of  King  Mark  of  Cornwall.  Then,  while  mourning  for  her 
beloved,  this  lady  dies  in  giving  birth  to  her  son,  whom  she 
names  Tristram,  or  the  sad  one. 

Brought  up  by  a  faithful  servant, — Gouvemail  or  Kur- 
venal, — Tristram  learns  to  become  a  peerless  hunter  and 
musician.  After  describing  sundry  childish  and  youthful 
adventures  in  different  lands,  the  various  legends  agree  in 
bringing  him  to  his  uncle's  court,  just  as  a  giant  champion 
arrives  from  Ireland,  claiming  tribute  in  money  and  men 
unless  some  one  can  defeat  him  in  battle.  As  neither  Mark 
nor  any  of  his  subjects  dare  venture  to  face  the  challenger, 
Morolt,  Tristram  volunteers  his  services.  The  battle  takes 
place  on  an  island,  and,  after  many  blows  have  been  given 
and  received  and  the  end  has  seemed  doubtful,  Tristram 
(who  has  been  wounded  by  his  opponent's  poisoned  lance) 
Mils  him  by  a  blow  of  his  sword,  a  splinter  of  which  remains 
embedded  in  the  dead  giant's  skull.  His  corpse  is  then 
brought  back  to  Ireland  to  receive  sepulchre  at  the  hands 
of  Queen  Iseult,  who,  in  preparing  the  body  for  the  grave 
finds  the  fragment  of  steel,  which  she  treasures,  thinking 
it  may  some  day  help  her  to  find  her  champion's  slayer  and 
enable  her  to  avenge  his  death. 

Meanwhile  Tristram's  wound  does  not  heal,  and,  realiz- 
ing Queen  Iseult  alone  will  be  able  to  cure  him,  he  sails 
for  Ireland,  where  he  presents  himself  as  the  minstrel  Tram- 
tris,  and  rewards  the  oare  of  the  queen  and  her  daughter — 
both  bearing  the  name  of  Isenlt^by  his  fine  music. 

On  his  return  to  Cornwall,  Tristram,  who  has  evidently 

*  See  the  author's  "  Stories  of  the  Wagner  Operas." 


238  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

been  impressed  by  Princess  Iseult's  beauty,  sings  her 
praises  so  enthusiastically  that  King  Mark  decides  to  pro- 
pose for  her  hand,  and — advised  by  the  jealous  courtiers, 
who  deem  the  expedition  perilous  in  the  extreme — selects 
Tristram  as  his  ambassador. 

On  landing  in  Ireland,  Tristram  notices  ill-concealed 
excitement,  and  discovers  that  a  dragon  is  causing  such 
damage  in  the  neighborhood  that  the  king  has  promised  his 
daughter's  hand  to  the  warrior  who  would  slay  the  monster. 

Nothing  daunted,  Tristram  sets  out  alone,  and  beards 
the  dragon  in  his  den  to  such  good  purpose  that  he  kills 
him  and  carries  off  his  tongue  as  a  trophy.  But,  wounded 
in  his  encounter,  Tristram  soon  sinks  by  the  roadside  un- 
conscious. The  king's  butler,  who  has  been  spying  upon 
him  and  who  deems  him  dead,  now  cuts  off  the  dragon's 
head  and  lays  it  at  the  king's  feet,  claiming  the  promised 
reward. 

Princess  Iseult  and  her  mother  refuse,  however,  to  be- 
lieve that  this  man — a  notorious  coward — ^has  performed 
any  such  feat,  and  hasten  out  to  the  battle-field.  There 
they  find  not  only  the  headless  dragon,  but  the  unconscious 
Tristram,  and  the  tongue  which  proves  him  the  real  victor. 
To  nurse  him  back  to  health  is  no  great  task  for  these  ladies, 
who,  like  many  of  the  heroines  of  the  mediaeval  epics  and 
romances,  are  skilled  leeches  and  surgeons. 

One  day,  while  guarding  their  patient's  slumbers,  the 
ladies  idly  examine  his  weapons,  and  make  the  momentous 
discovery  that  the  bit  of  steel  found  in  Morolt's  head  ex- 
actly fits  a  nick  in  Tristram's  sword. 

Although  both  had  sworn  vengeance,  they  decide  the  ser- 
vice Tristram  has  just  rendered  them  and  their  country 
more  than  counterbalances  the  rest,  and  therefore  let  him 
go  unscathed. 

Fully  restored  to  health,  Tristram  proves  the  butler  had 
no  right  to  Iseult's  hand,  and,  instead  of  enforcing  his  own 
claim,  makes  King  Mark's  proposals  known.  Either  be- 
cause such  an  alliance  flatters  their  pride  or  because  they 
dare  not  refuse,  Iseult's  parents  accept  in  their  daughter's 


THE  ARTHURIAN  CYCLE  239 

name  and  prepare  everything  for  her  speedy  departure. 
The  queen,  mshing  to  save  her  daughter  from  the  curse  of 
a  loveless  marriage,  next  brews  a  love-potion  which  she 
bids  Brengwain — ^her  daughter's  maid  and  companion — ad- 
minister to  King  Mark  and  Iseult  on  their  wedding  night. 

During  the  trip  across  the  Irish  Channel,  Tristram  en- 
tertains Princess  Iseult  with  songs  and  tales,  until  he  be- 
comes so  thirsty  that  he  begs  for  a  drink.  By  mistake  the 
love-potion  is  brought,  and,  as  Iseult  graciously  dips  her 
lips  in  the  cup  before  handing  it  to  her  entertainer,  it  comes 
to  pass  both  partake  of  the  magic  draught,  and  thus  become 
victims  of  a  passion  which  naught  can  cure.  Still,  as  their 
intentions  remain  perfectly  honorable,  they  continue  the 
journey  to  Cornwall,  and,  in  spite  of  all  he  suffers,  Tristram 
delivers  the  reluctant  bride  into  his  uncle's  hands. 

Some  legends  claim  that  Iseult  made  her  maid  Breng- 
wain take  her  place  by  the  king's  side  on  their  wedding 
night,  and  that,  although  the  Irish  princess  dwelt  in  the 
palace  at  Cornwall,  she  never  proved  untrue  to  her  lover 
Tristram.  The  romances  now  give  us  stolen  interviews, 
temporary  elopements,  and  hair-breadth  escapes  from  all 
manner  of  dangers.  Once,  for  instance,  Iseult  is  summoned 
by  her  husband  to  appear  before  the  judges  and  clear  her- 
self from  all  suspicion  of  infidelity  by  taking  a  public  oath 
in  their  presence.  By  Iseult 's  directions,  Tristram,  dis- 
guised as  a  mendicant,  carries  her  ashore  from  the  boat, 
begging  for  a  kiss  as  reward.  This  enables  the  queen  to 
swear  truthfully  that  she  has  never  been  embraced  by  any 
man  save  King  Mark  and  the  mendicant  who  carried  her 
ashore ! 

Tristram — ^like  Launcelot — deeply  feels  the  baseness  of 
his  conduct  toward  his  uncle  and  often  tries  to  tear  him- 
self away,  but  the  spell  of  the  magic  potion  is  too  powerful 
to  break.  Once  remorse  and  shame  actually  drive  him  mad, 
and  he  roams  around  the  country  performing  all  manner  of 
crazy  deeds. 

He  too,  when  restored  to  his  senses,  visits  Arthur's  court, 
ia  admitted  to  the  Round  Table,  and  joins  in  the  Quest  for 


240  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

the  Holy  Grail,  which,  of  course,  he  cannot  achieve.  Then 
he  does  marvels  in  the  matter  of  hunting  and  fighting,  and, 
having  received  another  dangerous  wound,  wonders  who 
besides  Iseult  of  Cornwall  can  cure  it  ?  It  is  then  he  hears 
for  the  first  time  of  Iseult  of  Brittany  (or  of  the  White 
Hands),  whose  skill  in  such  matters  is  proverbial,  and,  seek- 
ing her  aid,  is  soon  made  whole.  But  meantime  the  phy- 
sician has  fallen  in  love  with  her  patient,  and  fancies  her 
love  is  returned  because  every  lay  he  sings  is  in  praise  of 
Iseult! 

Her  brother,  discovering  her  innocent  passion,  reveals 
it  to  Tristram,  who,  through  gratitude  or  to  drive  the  re- 
membrance of  his  guilty  passion  out  of  his  mind,  finally 
marries  her.  But  even  marriage  cannot  make  him  forget 
Iseult  of  Cornwall.  The  time  comes  when,  wounded  beyond 
the  power  of  his  wife's  skill  to  cure,  Tristram  sends  for 
Iseult  of  Cornwall,  who,  either  owing  to  treachery  or  to 
accident,  arrives  too  late,  and  dies  of  grief  on  her  lover's 
corpse. 

Some  legends  vary  greatly  in  the  manner  of  Tristram's 
death,  for  he  is  sometimes  slain  by  King  Mark,  who  is 
justly  angry  to  find  him  in  his  wife's  company.  Most  of 
the  versions,  however,  declare  that  the  lovers  were  buried 
side  by  side,  and  that  creepers  growing  out  of  their  re- 
spective graves  twined  lovingly  around  each  other. 

Other  beautiful  episodes  which  are  taken  from  old  Welsh 
versions  of  the  Arthurian  legends  are  the  stories  of  Geraint 
and  Enid,  of  Pelleas  and  Ettarre,  of  Gareth  and  Lynette, 
which  have  received  their  latest  and  most  beautiful  setting 
at  the  hands  of  the  poet-laureate  Tennyson,  and  the  very 
tragic  and  pathetic  tale  of  the  twin  brothers  Balin  and 
Balan,  who,  after  baleful  happenings  galore,  failing  to 
recognize  each  other,  fight  until  one  deals  the  "dolorous 
stroke"  which  kills  his  brother. 

Were  any  one  patient  enough  to  count  the  characters, 
duels,  and  hairbreadth  escapes  in  Malory's  Morte  d 'Arthur, 
the  sum  might  well  appall  a  modem  reader.  Magic,  too, 
plays  a  prominent  part  in  the  Arthurian  cycle,  where  Mer- 


THE  ARTHURIAN  CYCLE  241 

lin,  by  means  of  a  magic  ring  given  by  the  Lady  of  the 
Lake  to  her  sister  Vivien,  becomes  so  infatuated  with  the 
latter  lady,  that  she  is  able  to  coax  from  him  all  his  secrets, 
and  even  to  learn  the  spell  whereby  a  mortal  can  be  kept 
alive  although  hidden  from  all  eyes.  Having  obtained  the 
magic  formula  by  bringing  all  her  coquettish  -wiles  to  bear 
upon  besotted  old  Merlin,  Vivien  is  said  to  have  decoyed 
the  wizard  either  to  an  enchanted  castle,  where  she  enclosed 
him  in  a  stone  sepulchre,  or  into  the  forest  of  Broceliande, 
in  Brittany,  where  she  left  him,  spellbound  in  a  flowering 
thorn-bush.  Another  legend,  however,  claims  that,  having 
grown  old  and  forgetful,  Merlin  absent-mindedly  attempted 
to  sit  down  in  the  Siege  Perilous,  only  to  be  swallowed  up 
by  the  yawning  chasm  which  opened  beneath  his  feet. 

It  was  at  the  height  of  Arthur's  prosperity  and  fame 
that  the  knights  of  the  Round  Table  solemnly  pledged  them- 
selves to  undertake  the  Quest  of  the  Holy  Grail,  as  is 
described  in  the  chapter  on  that  subject.  Their  absence, 
the  adultery  of  the  queen,  and  the  king's  consciousness 
of  past  sins  cast  such  a  gloom  over  the  once  brilliant  re- 
unions of  Camelot  and  Caerleon,  as  well  as  over  the  whole 
land,  that  Arthur's  foes  became  bolder,  and  troubles  thick- 
ened in  an  ominous  way.  Finally,  most  of  the  knights  re- 
turned from  the  Quest  sadder  and  wiser  men,  Launeelot 
was  banished  by  the  king  to  Joyous  Garde,  and  was  there- 
fore not  at  hand  when  the  last  great  fight  occurred.  Mor- 
dred,  the  Judas  of  the  Arthurian  cycle — whom  some  poets 
represent  as  the  illegitimate  and  incestuous  son  of  Arthur, 
while  others  merely  make  him  a  nephew  of  the  king — ^rebels 
against  Arthur,  who  engages  in  his  last  battle,  near  the 
Castle  of  Tintagel,  where  he  was  born. 

In  this  encounter  all  are  slain  on  both  sides,  and  Arthur, 
having  finally  killed  the  traitor  Mordred,  after  receiving 
from  him  a  grievous  wound,  finds  no  one  near  to  help  or 
sustain  him  save  Sir  Bedevere.  Knowing  his  wonderful 
blade  Excalibure  must  return  to  its  donor  ere  he  departs, 
Arthur  thrice  orders  his  henchman  to  cast  it  into  the  mere. 
Twice  Sir  Bedevere  hides  the  sword  instead  of  obeying,  but 
16 


242  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

the  third  time,  having  exactly  carried  out  the  royal  orders, 
he  reports  having  seen  a  hand  rise  out  of  the  Lake,  catch 
and  brandish  Excalibure,  and  vanish  beneath  the  waters 
with  it!  Arthur  is  next  carried  by  Sir  Bedevere  down  to 
the  water's  edge,  where  a  mysterious  barge  receives  the 
almost  dying  king.  In  this  barge  are  three  black-veiled 
queens, — the  king's  step-sisters, — and,  when  Arthur's  head 
has  been  tenderly  laid  in  the  lap  of  Morgana  the  Fay,  he 
announces  he  is  about  to  sail  off  to  the  Isle  of  Avalon  "to 
be  healed  of  his  wound."  Although  the  Isle  of  Avalon  was 
evidently  a  poetical  mediaeval  version  of  the  "  bourne 
whence  no  man  returns,"  people  long  watched  for  Arthur's 
home-coming,  for  he  was  a  very  real  personage  to  readers 
of  epics  and  romances  in  the  Middle  Ages. 

Guinevere — ^her  sin  having  been  discovered  by  her 
hitherto  fabulously  blind  husband — took  refuge  in  a  nun- 
nery at  Ahnesbury,  where  she  received  a  farewell  visit  from 
Arthur  and  an  assurance  of  his  forgiveness,  before  he  rode 
into  his  last  fight. 

As  for  Launcelot,  he,  too,  devoted  his  last  days  to  penance 
and  prayer  in  a  monastery.  There  he  remained  until 
warned  in  a  vision  that  Guinevere  was  dead.  Leaving  his 
cell,  Launcelot  hastened  to  Almesbury,  where,  finding 
Guinevere  had  ceased  to  breathe,  he  bore  her  corpse  to 
Glastonbury — ^where  according  to  some  versions  Arthur  had 
been  conveyed  by  the  barge  and  buried — and  there  laid  her 
to  rest  at  her  husband's  feet. 

Then  Launcelot  again  withdrew  to  his  cell,  where  he  died 
after  six  months'  abstinence  and  prayer.  It  was  his  heir. 
Sir  Ector,  who  feelingly  pronounced  the  eulogy  of  the 
knight  par  excellence  of  the  mediaeval  legends  in  the  follow- 
ing terms:  "  'Ah,  Sir  Lancelot,'  he  said,  'thou  were  head 
of  all  Christian  knights;  and  now  I  dare  say,'  said  Sir 
Ector,  'that.  Sir  Lancelot,  there  thou  liest,  thou  were  never 
matched  of  none  earthly  knight's  hands;  and  thou  were 
the  courtliest  knight  that  ever  bare  shield ;  and  thou  were 
the  truest  friend  to  thy  lover  that  ever  bestrode  horse ;  and 
thou  were  the  truest  lover  of  a  sinful  man  that  ever  loved 


ROBIN  HOOD  243 

woman;  and  thou  were  the  kmdest  man  that  ever  struck 
with  sword ;  and  thou  were  the  goodliest  person  that  ever 
came  among  press  of  knights;  and  thou  were  the  meekest 
man,  and  the  gentlest,  that  ever  ate  in  hall  among  ladies ; 
and  thou  were  the  sternest  knight  to  thy  mortal  foe  that 
ever  put  spear  in  rest. '  ' ' 

EOBIN  HOOD 

Among  the  most  popular  of  the  prose  epics  is  the  story 
of  Robin  Hood,  compiled  from  some  twoseore  old  English 
ballads,  some  of  which  date  back  at  least  to  1400.  This 
material  has  recently  been  charmingly  rfeworked  by  Howard 
Pyle,  who  has  happily  illustrated  his  own  book.  The  bare 
outline  of  the  tale  is  as  follows : 

In  the  days  of  Henry  II  lived  in  Sherwood  Forest  the 
famous  outlaw  Robin  Hood,  with  his  band  of  sevenscore 
men.  At  eighteen  years  of  age  Robin  left  Locksley  to 
attend  a  shooting-match  in  a  neighboring  town.  While 
crossing  the  forest  one  of  the  royal  gamekeepers  tauntingly 
challenged  him  to  prove  his  skill  as  a  marksman  by  killing 
a  deer  just  darting  past  them.  But,  when  the  unsuspecting 
youth  brought  down  this  quarry,  the  forester  proposed  to 
arrest  him  for  violating  the  law.  Robin,  however,  deftly 
escaped,  and,  when  the  keeper  sent  an  arrow  after  him, 
retaliated  by  another,  which,  better  aimed,  killed  one  of 
the  king's  men! 

Although  unwittingly  guilty  of  murder,  Robin,  knowing 
his  life  was  forfeit,  took  to  the  forest,  where  he  became  an 
outlaw.  In  vain  the  Sheriff  of  Nottingham  tried  to  secure 
him:  Robin  always  evaded  capture  at  his  hands.  Still  he 
did  not  remain  in  hiding,  but  frequently  appeared  among 
his  feUow-men,  none  of  whom  would  betray  him,  although 
the  sheriff  promised  a  reward  of  two  hundred  pounds  for 
his  capture. 

Once,  while  in  quest  of  adventures,  Robin  met  on  a 
narrow  bridge  a  stranger  who  refused  to  make  way  for 
him;    Irritated  by  what  he  considered  the  man's  insolence, 


244  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Robin  seized  his  quarter-staff,  only  to  find  that  his  an- 
tagonist more  than  matched  him  in  the  skilful  use  of  this 
weapon.  Then  a  misstep  suddenly  toppled  Robin  over  into 
the  stream,  where  he  might  have  perished  had  not  some 
of  his  men  leaped  out  of  the  thicket  to  his  rescue.  Vexed 
at  being  beaten  at  quarter-staff,  Robin  now  proposed  a 
shooting-match,  and,  his  good  humor  entirely  restored  by 
winning  a  victory  in  this  contest,  he  promptly  enrolled  the 
stranger  in  his  band.  His  merry  companions,  on  learning 
the  huge  new-comer  was  John  Little,  ironically  termed 
him  Little  John,  by  which  name  he  became  very  famous. 

Baffled  in  his  attempts  to  secure  Robin  and  unable  to 
find  any  one  near  there  to  serve  a  warrant  upon  him,  the 
sheriff  hired  a  Lincoln  tinker,  who,  entering  an  inn,  loudly 
boasted  how  cleverly  he  was  going  to  accomplish  his  task. 
Among  his  listeners  was  the  outlaw,  who  enticed  the  tinker 
to  drink,  and  made  him  so  drunk  that  he  had  no  difficulty 
in  stealing  his  warrant. 

The  tinker,  on  awaking,  was  furious,  and,  coming  face 
to  face  with  Robin  soon  after,  attacked  him  fiercely.  Seeing 
his  opponent  was  getting  the  better  of  him,  Robin  blew 
his  horn,  whereupon  six  of  his  men  appeared  to  aid  him. 
Awed  by  the  sudden  appearance  of  these  men, — ^who  were 
all  clad  in  Lincoln  green, — ^the  tinker  laid  down  his  cudgel 
and  humbly  begged  permission  to  join  the  band. 

The  baffled  sheriff  now  rode  off  to  London  to  complain, 
but,  when  Henry  heard  one  of  his  officers  could  not  capture 
an  outlaw,  he  indignantly  bade  him  leave  the  court  and 
not  appear  there  again  until  he  had  secured  Robin.  Dis- 
mayed at  having  incurred  royal  displeasure,  the  sheriff 
concluded  to  accomplish  by  stratagem  what  he  had  failed 
to  compass  by  force.  He  therefore  proclaimed  a  shooting- 
match,  and,  feeling  sure  Robin  would  be  among  the  com- 
petitors for  the  prize,  posted  a  number  of  men  to  watch  for 
and  arrest  him.  These  sleuths  recognized  all  the  contest- 
ants present,  except  a  dark  man,  with  a  patch  over  one 
eye,  who  did  not  in  the  least  resemble  the  fair-haired,  hand- 
some Robin.    Although  one-eyed,  the  stranger  easily  bore 


ROBIN  HOOD  245 

away  the  prize,  and,  when  the  sheriff  offered  to  take  him 
iLto  his  service,  curtly  rejoined  no  man  should  ever  be  his 
master.  But  that  evening,  in  a  secret  glade  in  Sherwood 
Forest,  Robin  gleefully  exhibited  to  his  followers  the  golden 
arrow  he  had  won,  and,  doffing  his  patch,  remarked  that 
the  walnut  stain,  which  had  transformed  a  fair  man  into  a 
dark  one,  would  soon  wear  off. 

Still,  not  satisfied  with  outwitting  the  sheriff,  Robin, 
anxious  to  apprise  him  of  the  fact,  wrote  a  message  on  an 
arrow,  which  he  boldly  shot  into  the  hall  where  his  enemy 
was  seated  at  a  banquet.  Enraged  by  this  impudence,  the 
sheriff  sent  out  three  hundred  men  to  scour  the  forest,  and 
Robin  and  his  men  were  forced  to  hide. 

Weary  of  inlaction,  Robin  finally  bade  Will  Stutely  re- 
eonnoiter,  report  what  the  sheriff  was  doing,  and  see  whether 
it  would  be  safe  for  him  and  his  men  to  venture  out. 
Garbed  as  a  monk.  Will  Stutely  sought  the  nearest  iim, 
where  he  was  quietly  seated  when  some  of  the  sheriff's 
men  came  in.  The  outlaw  was  listening  intently  to  their 
plans  when  a  cat,  rubbing  against  him,  pushed  aside  his 
frock,  and  thus  allowed  the  constable  a  glimpse  of  Lincoln 
green  beneath  its  folds.  To  arrest  the  outlaw  was  but  the 
matter  of  a  moment,  and  Will  Stutely  was  led  off  to  prison 
and  execution,  while  a  friendly  bar-maid  hastened  off  se- 
cretly to  the  forest  to  warn  Robin  of  his  friend's  peril. 

Determined  to  save  Will  from  the  gallows  at  any  risk, 
Robin  immediately  set  out  with  four  of  his  best  men  and 
let  them  mingle  among  the  people  assembled  near  the  gal- 
lows. Although  disguised,  the  outlaws  were  immediately 
recognized  by  Will  when  he  arrived  with  the  sheriff.  Press- 
ing forward  as  if  to  obtain  a  better  view  of  the  execution, 
the  outlaws  contrived  to  annoy  their  neighbors  so  sorely 
that  a  fight  ensued,  and,  in  the  midst  of  the  confusion.  Little 
John,  slipping  close  up  to  the  prisoner,  cut  his  bonds, 
knocked  down  the  sheriff,  and  escaped  with  all  the  band! 

Life  in  the  forest  sometimes  proved  too  monotonous  to 
suit  Robin,  who  once  purchased  from  a  butcher  his  horse, 
cart,  and  meat,  and  drove  off  boldly  to  Nottingham  Fair. 


246  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

There  he  lustily  cried  Ms  wares,  atmouneing  churchmen 
would  have  to  pay  double,  aldermen  cost  price,  housewives 
less,  and  pretty  girls  nothing  save  a  kiss!  The  merry 
vender's  methods  of  trading  soon  attracted  so  many  female 
customers  that  the  other  butchers  became  angry,  but,  deem- 
ing Kobin  a  mere  simpleton,  invited  him  to  a  banquet,  where 
they  determined  to  take  advantage  of  him. 

The  sheriff — ^who  was  present — blandly  inquired  of  the 
butcher  whether  he  had  any  cattle  for  sale,  and  arranged 
to  meet  him  in  the  forest  and  pay  300  crowns  in  cash  for 
500  homed  heads.  But,  when  the  gullible  sheriff  reached 
the  tiysting-spot,  he  was  borne  captive  to  Robin's  camp, 
where  the  chief,  mockingly  pointing  out  the  king's  deer, 
bade  him  take  possession  of  five  hundred  horned  heads! 
Then  he  invited  the  sheriff  to  witness  games  exhibiting  the 
outlaws'  strength  and  skill,  and,  after  relieving  him  of  his 
money,  allowed  him  to  depart  unharmed. 

More  determined  than  ever  to  obtain  revenge,  the 
sheriff  again  proclaimed  an  archery  contest,  which  Robin 
shunned.  Little  John,  however,  put  in  an  appearance, 
won  all  the  prizes,  and  even  accepted  the  sheriff's  offer 
to  serve  him.  But,  living  on  the  fat  of  the  land  in  the 
sheriff's  household.  Little  John  grew  fat  and  lazy,  quar- 
relled with  the  other  servants,  and  finally  departed  with 
his  master's  cook  and  his  silver! 

Robin,  although  delighted  to  acquire  a  new  follower, 
hotly  reiriled  his  companion  for  stealing  the  silver,  where- 
upon Little  John  declared  the  sheriff  had  given  it  to  him 
and  volunteered  to  produce  him  to  confirm  his  words.  He 
therefore  set  out,  and  waylaid  his  late  employer,  who, 
thinking  himself  under  the  protection  of  one  of  his  own 
men,  innocently  followed  him  to  the  outlaws'  camp.  When 
brought  thus  suddenly  face  to  face  with  Robin,  the  sheriff 
expected  to  be  robbed  or  killed,  but,  after  ascertaining  the 
silver  was  not  a  free  gift,  Robin  gave  it  back  to  him  and 
let  him  go. 

Angry  because  Robin  often  twitted  him  with  his  stout- 
ness, Little  John  once  wandered  off  by  himself  in  the  forest, 


ROBIN  HOOD  247 

and  meeting  Arthur  a  Bland  challenged  him  to  fight,  little 
suspecting  Robin  was  watching  them  from  a  neighboring 
thicket.  From  this  hiding-place  the  chief  of  the  outlaws 
witnessed  Little  John's  defeat,  and,  popping  out  as  soon  as 
the  fight  was  over,  invited  Arthur  a  Bland  to  join  his  band. 
The  three  men  next  continued  their  walk,  until  they  met  a 
' '  rose-leaf,  whipped-cream"  youth, ' '  of  whose  modish  attire 
and  effeminate  manners  they  made  unmerciful  fun.  Boast- 
fully informing  his  two  companions  he  was  going  to  show 
them  how  a  quarter-staff  should  be  handled,  Robin  chal- 
lenged the  stranger,  who,  suddenly  dropping  his  affected 
manners,  snatched  a  stake  from  the  hedge  and  proceeded 
to  outfence  Robin.  In  his  turn  Little  John  had  a  chance 
to  laugh  at  his  leader's  discomfiture,  and  Robin,  on  learning 
his  antagonist  was  his  nephew  (who  had  taken  refuge  in 
the  forest  because  he  had  accidentally  killed  a  man),  in- 
vited him  to  join  his  merry  men. 

Soon  after  Little  John  was  despatched  for  food, 
and  the  outlaws  were  enjoying  a  jolly  meal  "under  the 
greenwood  tree,"  when  a  miller  came  trudging  along  with 
a  heavy  bag  of  flour.  Crowding  around  him,  the  outlaws 
demanded  his  money,  and,  when  he  exhibited  an  empty 
purse,  Robin  suggested  his  money  was  probably  hidden  in 
the  meal  and  sternly  ordered  him  to  produce  it  without 
delay,  i&rumbling  about  his  loss,  the  miller  opened  his  sack, 
began  to  fumble  in  the  meal,  and,  when  all  the  outlaws  were 
bending  anxiously  over  it,  flung  a  double  handful  of  flour 
right  into  their  eyes,  thus  blinding  them  temporarily.  Had 
not  other  outlaws  now  rushed  out  of  the  thicket,  the  miller 
would  doubtless  have  effected  his  escape,  but  the  new 
arrivals  held  him  fast  until  Robin,  charmed  with  his  ready 
wit,  invited  him  to  become  an  outlaw  too. 

Some  time  after  this,  Robin,  Will  Scarlet,  and  Little 
John  discovered  the  minstrel  Allan  a  Dale  weeping  in  the 
forest  because  his  sweetheart,  fair  Ellen,  was  compelled  by 
her  father  to  marry  a  rich  old  squire.  Hearing  this  tale 
and  sympathizing  with  the  lovers,  Robin  engaged  to  unite 
them,  provided  he  could  secure  a  priest  to  tie  the  knot. 


248  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

When  told  Friar  Tuck  would  surely  oblige  him,  Robia 
started  out  in  quest  of  him,  and,  finding  him  under  a  tree, 
feasting  alone  and  toasting  himself,  he  joined  in  his  merry 
meal.  Then,  under  the  pretext  of  saving  his  fine  clothes 
from  a  wetting,  Eobin  persuaded  the  friar  to  carry  him 
pick-a-back  across  a  stream.  While  doing  so,  the  friar 
stole  Eobin 's  sword,  and  refused  to  give  it  back  unless 
the  outlaw  carried  him  back.  Following  Friar  Tuck's  ex- 
ample, Eobin  slyly  purloined  something  from  him,  and 
exacted  a  new  ride  across  the  river,  during  which  Friar 
Tuck  tumbled  him  over  into  the  water.  Robin,  who  had 
hitherto  taken  his  companion's  pleasantries  good-naturedly, 
got  angry  and  began  a  fight,  but  soon,  feeling  he  was  about 
to  be  worsted,  he  loudly  summoned  his  men.  Friar  Tuck 
in  return  whistled  for  his  dogs,  which  proved  quite  formid- 
able enough  opponents  to  induce  the  outlaws  to  beg  for  a 
truce. 

Eobin  now  secured  Friar  Tuck  to  celebrate  Allan's 
marriage  and  laid  clever  plans  to  rescue  Ellen  from  an 
unwelcome  bridegroom.  So  aU  proceeded  secretly  or  openly 
to  the  church  where  the  marriage  was  to  take  place.  Pre- 
tending to  be  versed  in  magic,  Eobin  swore  to  the 
ecclesiastics  present  that,  if  they  would  only  give  him  the 
jewels  they  wore,  he  would  guarantee  the  bride  should  love 
the  bridegroom.  Just  as  the  reluctant  Ellen  was  about  to 
be  united  to  the  rich  old  squire  by  these  churchmen,  Robin 
interfered,  and  (the  angry  bridegroom  having  flounced  out 
of  church),  bribed  the  father  to  allow  Friar  Tuck  to  unite 
Ellen  and  Allan  a  Dale.  Because  the  bride  undoubtedly 
loved  her  spouse,  Robin  claimed  the  jewels  promised  him, 
and  bestowed  them  upon  the  happy  couple,  who  adopted 
Sherwood  Forest  for  their  home. 

Weary  of  the  same  company,  Robin  once  despatched  his 
men  into  the  forest  with  orders  to  arrest  any  one  they  met 
and  bring  him  to  their  nightly  banquet.  Robin  himself 
sallied  out  too,  and  soon  met  a  dejected  knight,  who  de- 
clared he  felt  too  sad  to  contribute  to  the  outlaw's  amuse- 
ment.    When  Robin  questioned  him  in  regard  to  his  de- 


ROBIN  HOOD  249 

jection,  Sir  Richard  of  the  Lee  explained  that  his  son,  hav- 
ing accidentally  wounded  his  opponent  in  a  tournament, 
had  been  obliged  to  pay  a  fine  of  £600  in  gold  and  make 
a  pilgrimage  to  Palestine.  To  raise  the  money  for  the  fine, 
the  father  had  mortgaged  his  estates,  and  was  now  about 
to  be  despoiled  of  them  by  the  avaricious  prior  of  Emmet, 
who  demanded  an  immediate  payment  of  £400  or  the  estate. 

Robin,  ever  ready  to  help  the  poor  and  sorrowful,  bade 
the  knight  cheer  up  and  promised  to  discover  some  way 
to  raise  the  £400.  Meantime  Little  John  and  Friar 
Tuck — ^who  had  joined  Robin's  band — caught  the  Bishop 
of  Hereford,  travelling  through  the  forest  with  a  train  of 
pack  horses,  one  of  which  was  laden  with  an  iron-bound 
chest.  After  entertaining  these  forced  guests  at  dinner, 
Robin  had  them  witness  his  archers'  skill  and  listen  to 
Allan  a  Dale's  music,  ere  he  set  forth  the  knight's  predica/- 
ment  and  appealed  to  the  bishop  to  lend  him  the  necessary 
money.  When  the  bishop  loudly  protested  he  would  do  so 
gladly  had  he  funds,  Robin  ordered  his  baggage  examined 
and  divided  into  three  equal  shares,  one  for  the  owner, 
one  for  his  men,  and  one  for  the  poor. 

Such  was  the  value  of  the  third  set  aside  for  the  poor 
that  Robin  could  lend  Sir  Richard  £500.  Armed  with 
this  money — ^which  he  promised  to  repay  within  a  year 
— Sir  Richard  presented  himself  before  the  prior  of  Emmet, 
who  had  hired  the  sheriff  and  a  lawyer  to  help  him  despoil 
the  knight  with  some  show  of  law  and  justice.  It  was 
therefore  before  an  august  board  of  three  villains  that  Sir 
Richard  knelt  begging  for  time  wherein  to  pay  his  debt. 
Virtuously  protesting  he  would  gladly  remit  a  himdred 
pounds  for  prompt  payment— so  great  was  his  need  of 
money— the  prior  refused  to  wait,  and  his  claim  was  duly 
upheld  by  lawyer  and  sheriff.  Relinquishing  his  humble 
position.  Sir  Richard  then  defiantly  produced  300  pounds, 
which  he  forced  the  prior  to  accept  in  full  payment !  Soon 
after,  the  happy  knight  was  able  to  repay  Robin's  loan, 
and  gratefully  bestowed  fine  bows  and  arrows  on  all  the 
outlaws. 


250  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Little  John,  garbed  as  a  friar,  once  set  out  for  a  neigh- 
boring fair,  and,  meeting  three  pretty  girls  with  baskets 
of  eggs,  gallantly  offered  to  carry  their  loads.  When  merrily 
challenged  to  carry  all  three.  Little  John  cleverly  slung 
one  basket  around  his  neck  by  means  of  his  rosary,  and 
marched  merrily  along  carrying  the  two  others  and  singing 
at  the  top  of  his  lungs,  while  one  of  the  girls  beat  time  with 
his  staff. 

On  approaching  town.  Little  John  restored  the  baskets 
to  their  owners,  and,  assuming  a  sanctimonious  bearing, 
joined  two  brothers  of  Fountains  Abbey,  whom  he  implored 
to  give  him  a  little  money.  Because  they  turned  a  deaf 
ear  to  his  request.  Little  John  went  with  them,  acting  so 
strangely  that  he  annoyed  them  sorely.  Seeing  this,  he 
declared  he  would  leave  them  if  they  would  only  give  him 
two  pennies,  whereupon  they  rejoined  they  had  no  more 
than  that  for  their  own  needs.  Crying  he  would  perform 
a  miracle.  Little  John  plumped  down  upon  his  big  knees 
in  the  middle  of  the  road  and  loudly  intreated  St.  Dunstan 
to  put  money  iu  their  purses.  Then  jumping  up,  he  seized 
their  bags,  vowing  that  anything  above  a  penny  was  clearly 
his,  since  it  was  obtained  through  his  prayers ! 

Eobin,  longing  for  a  little  variety,  once  met  a  beggar 
with  whom  he  exchanged  garments.  Soon  after,  meeting 
four  other  mendicants,  Robin  joined  them,  and  having 
gotten  into  a  quarrel  with  them  had  the  satisfaction  of 
routing  all  four.  A  little  later  he  met  an  usurer,  whom 
he  gradually  induced  to  reveal  the  fact  that  he  had  never 
lost  his  money  because  he  always  carried  his  fortune  iu  the 
thick  soles  of  his  shoes.  Of  course  Robin  immediately  com- 
pelled the  usurer  to  remove  his  foot-gear,  and  sent  him 
home  barefoot,  while  he  rejoined  his  men  and  amused  them 
with  a  detailed  account  of  the  day's  adventures. 

Queen  Eleanor,  having  heard  endless  merry  tales  about 
Robin  Hood,  became  very  anxious  to  meet  him,  and  finally 
sent  one  of  her  pages  to  Sherwood  Forest  to  inform  Robin 
the  king  had  wagered  his  archers  would  win  all  the  prizes 
in  the  royal  shooting-match.    Because  she  had  wagered  the 


ROBIN  HOOD  251 

contrary,  she  promised  Robin  a  safe-conduct  for  himself 
and  his  men  if  he  would  only  come  to  court  and  display 
his  skill. 

Choosing  Will  Scarlet,  Little  John,  and  Allan  a  Dale 
as  his  companions,  Robin  attended  the  tournament  and  won 
all  the  prizes,  to  the  great  disgust  of  the  king,  the  sheriff, 
and  the  Bishop  of  Hereford,  which  latter  recognized  the 
hated  outlaw.  On  discovering  the  king  would  not  respect 
the  safe-conduct  she  had  given  Robin,  Eleanor  sent  him 
word:  "The  lion  growls;  beware  of  thy  head."  This  hint 
was  suflScient  to  make  Robin  leave  immediately,  bidding  his 
companions  reenter  the  forest  by  different  roads  and  re- 
serving the  most  difficult  for  himself. 

Although  Robin's  men  reached  the  forest  safely,  he  him- 
self was  hotly  pursued  by  the  sheriff's  and  bishop's  troops. 
Once,  when  they  were  so  close  on  his  heels  that  it  seemed 
impossible  for  him  to  escape,  Robin  exchanged  garments 
with  a  cobbler,  who  was  promptly  arrested  in  his  stead  and 
borne  off  to  prison.  Such  was  Robin's  exhaustion  by  this 
time  that  he  entered  an  inn,  and,  creeping  into  bed,  slept 
so  soundly  that  only  on  awaking  on  the  morrow  did  he 
discover  he  had  shared  his  bed  with  a  monk.  Slyly  sub- 
stituting the  cobbler's  garments  for  those  of  the  sleeping 
monk,  Robin  peacefully  departed,  while  the  sheriff's  men, 
having  discovered  their  mistake,  proceeded  to  arrest  the 
false  cobbler !  Meantime  the  Queen  succeeded  iu  softening 
the  king's  resentment,  so  Robin  was  allowed  to  rejoin  his 
companions,  and  his  sweetheart,  Maid  Marian,  who  could 
shoot  nearly  as  well  as  he. 

Many  years  now  elapsed,  during  which  King  Henry 
died  and  King  Richard  came  to  the  throne.  Robin,  still 
pursued  by  the  sheriff,  once  discovered  in  the  forest  a  man 
clad  in  horse-skin,  who,  having  been  an  outlaw  too,  had  been 
promised  his  pardon  if  he  would  slay  Robin.  Hearing  him 
boast  about  what  he  would  do,  Robin  challenged  him  first 
to  a  trial  of  marksmanship,  and  then  to  a  bout  of  sword 
play,  during  which  the  strange  outlaw  was  slain.     Then, 


252  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

donning  the  fallen  man's  strange  apparel,  Eobin  went  oflf 
to  Nottingham  in  quest  of  more  adventures. 

Meantime,  Little  John  had  entered  a  poor  hut,  where  he 
found  a  woman  weeping  because  her  sons  had  been  seized 
as  poachers  and  sentenced  to  be  hanged.  Touched  by  her 
grief.  Little  John  promised  to  rescue  them  if  she  would 
only  supply  him  with  a  disguise.  Dressed  in  a  suit  which 
had  belonged  to  the  woman's  husband,  he  entered  Not- 
tingham just  as  the  sheriff  was  escorting  his  captives  to 
the  gallows.  No  hangman  being  available,  the  sheriff  gladly 
hired  the  stranger  to  perform  that  office.  While  ostensibly 
fastening  nooses  around  the  three  lads'  necks.  Little  John 
cleverly  whispered  directions  whereby  to  escape.  This  part 
of  his  duty  done.  Little  John  strung  his  bow,  arguing  it 
would  be  a  humane  act  to  shorten  their  agony  by  a  well- 
directed  shaft.  But,  as  soon  as  his  bow  was  properly  strung, 
Little  John  gave  the  agreed  signal,  and  the  three  youths 
scampered  off,  he  covering  their  retreat  by  threatening  to 
kill  any  one  who  attempted  to  pursue  them. 

The  angry  sheriff,  on  perceiving  Robin,  who  just  then 
appeared,  deeming  bim  the  man  he  sent  into  the  forest, 
demanded  some  token  that  he  had  done  his  duty.  In  reply 
Robin  silently  exhibited  his  own  sword,  bugle,  and  bow, 
and  pointed  to  his  blood-stained  clothes.  The  officers  hav- 
ing meantime  captured  Little  John,  the  sheriff  allowed 
Robin — as  a  reward — to  hang  his  companion.  By  means 
of  the  same  stratagem  as  Little  John  employed  for  the 
rescue  of  the  youths,  Robin  saved  his  beloved  mate,  and, 
when  the  sheriff  started  to  pursue  them,  blew  such  a  blast 
on  his  horn  that  the  terrified  official  galloped  away,  one 
of  Robin's  arrows  sticking  in  his  back. 

Two  months  after,  there  was  great  excitement  in  Not- 
tingham, because  King  Richard  was  to  ride  through  the 
town.  The  gay  procession  of  knights,  pages,  and  soldiers 
was  viewed  with  delight  by  all  the  people,  among  whom 
Robin's  outlaws  were  thickly  dotted.  Riding  beside  the 
king,  the  Sheriff  of  Nottingham  paled  on  recognizing  in 
the  crowd  Robin  himself,  a  change  of  color  which  did  not 


ROBIN  HOOD  253 

escape  Richard's  eagle  eye.  When  the  conversation  turned 
upon  the  famous  outlaw  at  the  banquet  that  evening,  and 
sheriff  and  bishop  bitterly  declared  Robia  could  not  be  cap- 
tured, Richard  exclaimed  he  would  gladly  give  a  hundred 
pounds  for  a  glimpse  of  so  extraordinary  a  man !  There- 
upon one  of  the  guests  rejoined  he  could  easily  obtain  it 
by  entering  the  forest  in  a  monk's  garb,  a  suggestion  which 
so  charmed  the  Lion-hearted  monarch  that  he  started  out 
on  the  morrow  with  seven  cowled  men.  They  had  not  ridden 
far  into  the  forest  before  they  were  arrested  by  a  man  in 
Lincoln  green — ^Robin  himself — ^who  conducted  them  to  the 
outlaw's  lair. 

As  usual,  the  chance  guests  were  entertained  with  a 
feast  of  venison  and  athletic  games,  in  the  course  of  which 
Robin  declared  he  would  test  the  skiU  of  his  men,  and  that 
aJl  who  missed  the  bull's-eye  should  be  punished  by  a 
buffet  from  Little  John's  mighty  fist.  Strange  to  relate, 
eveiy  man  failed  and  was  floored  by  Little  John's  blow, 
the  rest  roaring  merrily  over  his  discomfiture.  All  his 
men  having  tried  and  failed,  Robin  was  asked  to  display 
his  own  skill  for  the  stranger's  benefit,  and,  when  he  too 
shot  at  random,  all  loudly  clamored  he  must  be  punished 
too.  Hoping  to  escape  so  severe  a  blow  as  Little  John 
dealt,  Robin  declared  it  was  not  fitting  a  chief  should  be 
struck  by  his  men,  and  offered  to  take  his  punishment  at 
his  guest's  hands.  Richard,  not  sorry  to  take  his  revenge, 
now  bared  a  niuscular  arm,  and  hit  poor  Robin  so  heartily 
that  the  outlaw  measured  his  fuU  length  on  the  ground 
and  lay  there  some  time  wondering  what  had  occurred. 

Just  then  Sir  Richard's  son  rushed  into  the  outlaw's 
camp,  breathlessly  crying  the  king  had  left  Nottingham  and 
was  scouring  the  forest  to  arrest  them.  Throwing  back  his 
cowl  Richard  sternly  demanded  how  one  of  his  nobles  dared 
reveal  his  plans  to  his  foes,  whereupon  the  young  knight, 
kneeling  before  his  monarch,  explained  how  Robin  had  saved 
his  father  from  ruin. 

Richard,  whose  anger  was  a  mere  pretence,  now  in- 
formed Robin  he  should  no  longer  be  persecuted,  and  pro- 


254  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

posed  that  he,  Little  John,  Will  Scarlet,  and  Allan  a  Dale 
should  enter  his  service.  The  rest  of  the  outlaws  were 
appointed  game-keepers  in  the  royal  forests,  a  life  which 
suited  them  admirably. 

After  spending  the  night  in  the  camp  of  the  outlaws, 
Richard  rode  away  with  his  new  followers,  and  we  are  told 
Robin  Hood  served  him  to  such  good  purpose  that  he  soon 
earned  the  title  of  Earl  of  Huntington.  Shortly  after 
Richard's  death,  Robin,  seized  with  a  longing  for  the 
wild  free  life  of  his  youth,  revisited  Sherwood  Forest, 
where  the  first  blast  of  his  huntiag-hom  gathered  a  score 
of  his  old  followers  about  him.  Falling  at  his  feet  and 
kissing  his  hands,  they  so  fervently  besought  him  never 
to  leave  them  again  that  Robin  promised  to  remain  in  the 
forest,  and  did  so,  although  King  John  sent  for  him  sundry 
times  and  finally  ordered  the  sheriff  to  arrest  him. 

By  this  time  Robiu  was  no  longer  a  yoiing  man,  so  life 
in  the  open  no  longer  proved  as  delightful  as  of  yore. 
Seized  with  a  fever  which  he  could  not  shake  off,  Robin 
finally  dragged  himself  to  the  priory  of  Kirk  Lee,  where 
he  besought  the  prioress  to  bleed  him.  Either  because  she 
was  afraid  to  defy  the  king  or  because  she  owed  Robin  a 
personal  grudge,  this  lady  opened  an  artery  instead  of  a 
vein,  and,  locking  the  door  of  his  room,  left  him  there  to 
bleed  to  death.  The  iinsuspecting  Robin  patiently  awaited 
her  return,  and,  when  he  finally  realized  his  plight  and 
tried  to  summon  aid,  he  was  able  to  blow  only  the  faintest 
call  upon  his  horn.  This  proved  enough,  however,  to  sum- 
mon Little  John,  who  was  lurking  in  the  forest  near  by, 
for  he  dashed  toward  the  priory,  broke  open  the  door,  and 
forced  his  way  into  the  turret-chamber,  where  he  found 
poor  Robin  nearly  gone. 

At  his  cries,  the  prioress  hastened  to  check  the  bleeding 
of  Robin's  wound,  but  too  late!  Faintly  whispering  he 
would  never  hunt  in  the  forest  again,  Robin  begged  Little 
John  string  his  bow,  and  raise  him  up  so  he  could  shoot 
a  last  arrow  out  of  the  narrow  window,  adding  that  he 
wished  to  be  buried  where  that  arrow  fell.    Placing  the 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  255 

bow  in  Robin's  hand,  Jjittle  John  supported  his  dying 
master  while  he  sent  his  last  arrow  to  the  foot  of  a  mighty 
oak,  and  "something  sped  from  that  body  as  the  winged 
arrow  sped  from  the  bow,"  for  it  was  only  a  corpse  Little 
John  laid  down  on  the  bed ! 

At  dawn  on  the  morrow  six  outlaws  bore  their  dead 
leader  to  a  grave  they  had  dug  beneath  the  oak,  above 
which  was  a  stone  which  bore  this  inscription : 

Here  underneath  this  little  stone 
Lies  Robin,  Earl  of  Huntington, 
None  there  was  as  he  so  good. 
And  people  called  him  Robin  Hood. 
Such  outlaws  as  he  and  his  men 
Will  England  never  see  again. 

Died  December  24th,  1247. 

THE  FAERIE  QUEENE 

Edmund  Spenser,  who  was  born  in  London  in  1552 
and  lived  at  Dublin  as  clerk  to  the  court  of  Chancery,  there 
wrote  the  Faerie  Queene,  of  which  the  first  part  was  pub- 
lished in  1589  and  dedicated  to  Elizabeth.  In  this  poem  he 
purposed  to  depict  the  twelve  moral  virtues  in  twelve  suc- 
cessive books,  each  containing  twelve  cantos,  written  in 
stanzas  of  eight  short  lines  and  one  long  one.  But  he  com- 
pleted only  six  books  of  his  poem  in  the  course  of  six  years. 

The  Faerie  Queene  is  not  only  an  epic  but  a  double  a)i>'Jtl<^ 
allegory,  for  many  of  the  characters  represent  both  abstract  {^liftf^T^ 
virtues  and  tl^e  noted  people  of  Spenser's  time.  For  in- 
stance, the  poem  opens  with  a  description  of  the  court  of 
Gloriana, — ^who  impersonates  Elizabeth  and  is  the  champion 
of  Protestantism.  As  queen  of  the  fairy  realm  she  holds 
annual  festivals,  in  one  of  which  the  young  peasant  Georges 
enters  her  haU.  He  kneels  before  her  so  humbly  yet  so 
courteously  that,  notwithstanding  his  rustic  garb,  she  per- 
ceives he  must  be  of  noble  birth.  When  he,  therefore, 
craves  as  a  boon  the  next  adventure,  Gloriana  grants  his 
request,  on  condition  that  he  will  serve  her  afterward  for 
six  years. 


256  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Shortly  after,  a  beautiful  lady,  garbed  in  white  but 
enveloped  in  a  black  mantle,  rides  up  to  court  on  a  snow- 
white  ass,  leading  a  wooUy  lamb.  She  is  followed  by  a 
dwarf,  who  conducts  a  war-steed,  on  which  are  piled  all 
the  arms  of  a  knight.  On  approaching  Gloriana,  Una — the 
personification  of  Truth — explains  that  her  royal  parents 
are  besieged  in  their  capital  by  a  dragon,  which  has  slain 
aU  the  warriors  who  have  ventured  to  attack  him. 

On  hearing  Una  beg  for  aid,  Georgos  eagerly  steps 
forward  to  claim  the  task.  Ill  pleased  to  be  given  a  peasant 
instead  of  the  knight  she  was  seeking,  Una  coldly  bids 
Georgos — ^the  personification  of  Holiness — ^try  on  the  armor 
she  has  brought,  adding  that,  unless  it  fits  him  exactly, 
he  need  not  expect  to  triumph.  But  no  sooner  has  the 
youth  donned  the  armor  which  the  dwarf  produces  than 
all  recognize  with  wonder  it  must  have  been  made  for 
him,  and  Gloriana  publicly  dubs  him  "Knight  of  the  Eed 
Cross,"  because  the  armor  Una  brought  bears  that  device. 

Vaulting  on  his  war-steed,  Georgos  now  rides  off  with 
Una  and  the  dwarf,  and  after  crossing  a  wilderness  enters 
a  forest,  where  before  long  he  descries  the  mouth  of  a  cave, 
into  which  he  feels  impelled  to  enter.  No  sooner  has  he 
done  so  than  he  encounters  a  dragon, — ^the  personification 
of  Heresy  and  Error, — ^which  attacks  him  with  fury.  A 
frightful  battle  ensues,  in  the  course  of  which  the  Eed 
Cross  Knight  is  about  to  be  worsted,  when  Una's  encour- 
agements so  stimulate  him  that  he  slays  the  monster. 

On  seeing  the  exhaustion  of  her  companion,  Una  realizes 
he  wiU  require  rest  before  undertaking  further  adventures, 
and  therefore  eagerly  accepts  an  invitation  tendered  by  a 
venerable  old  hermit  who  meets  them.  He  leads  them  to 
his  cell,  where,  after  entertaining  them  all  evening  by 
pious  eonvereation,  he  dismisses  them  to  seek  rest.  His 
guests  have  no  sooner  vanished  than  the  hermit,  Archimago, 
— a  personification  of  Hypocrisy, — casts  aside  his  disguise, 
and  summons  two  demons,  one  of  whom  he  despatches  to 
Hades  to  fetch  a  dream  from  the  cave  of  Morpheus.  This 
dream  is  to  whisper  to  the  sleeping  Red  Cross  Knight  that 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  257 

Una  is  not  as  innocent  as  she  seems,  while  the  other  demon, 
transformed  into  her  very  semblance,  is  to  delude  the 
knight  on  awakening  into  believing  his  companion  beneath 
contempt.  This  plot  is  duly  carried  out,  and  the  Red 
Cross  Knight  shocked  by  the  behavior  of  the  sham  Una 
departs  immediately,  bidding  the  dwarf  follow  him.  Rid- 
ing along  in  a  state  of  extreme  disgust  and  irritation,  the 
Red  Cross  Knight  soon  encounters  Sansfoi,— Faithlessness, 
— accompanied  by  a  lady  clad  in  red,  who  is  Duessa, — a  per- 
sonification of  Mary  Queen  of  Scots,  and  also  of  false- 
hood  and  popery.  The  two  knights  immediately  run 
against  each  other,  and,  when  Georgos  has  slain  his  oppo- 
nent, the  lady  beseeches  him  to  spare  her  life,  exclaiming 
her  name  is  Fidessa  and  that  she  is  only  too  glad  to  be  saved 
from  the  cruel  Sansfoi.  Deluded  by  her  words  and  looks, 
the  Red  Cross  Knight  invites  her  to  accompany  him,  prom- 
ising to  defend  her  from  her  foes. 

They  are  riding  along  together  amicably,  when  the 
knight  plucks  a  blossoming  twig  to  weave  a  garland  for 
his  companion,  and  is  dismayed  to  see  blood  trickle  from 
the  broken  stem.  Questioning  the  tree  from  whence  the 
branch  was  taken,  Georgos  learns  that  a  knight  and  his 
wife  have  been  transformed  into  plants  by  Duessa,  who 
does  not  wish  them  to  escape  from  her  thraldom.  During 
this  explanation,  Georgos  fails  to  notice  that  the  lady  in 
red  trembles  for  fear  her  victims  may  recognize  her,  nor 
does  he  mark  her  relief  when  she  perceives  her  present 
disguise  is  so  effective  that  no  one  suspects  she  worked 
this  baleful  transformation. 

Riding  on  once  more,  the  Red  Cross  Knight  and  his 
companion  next  draw  near  to  a  glittering  castle,  whose 
stones  seem  covered  with  gold.  Fidessa,  who  is  familiar 
with  this  place,  invites  the  knight  to  enter  there  with  her ; 
and  Georgos,  unaware  of  the  fact  that  this  is  the  stronghold 
of  Pride,  not  only  consents,  but  pays  respectful  homage  to 
the  mistress  of  the  castle.  Queen  Lucifera,  whose  attend- 
ants are  Idleness,  Gluttony,  Lechery,  Envy,  Avarice,  and 
Wrath.    It  is  while  sojourning  in  this  castle  that  the  Red 

17 


258  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Cross  Knight  one  day  sees  Sansjoi  (Joyless)  snatch  from  his 
dwarf  the  shield  won  from  Sansfoi.  Angered  by  this  deed 
of  violence,  Georgos  draws  his  sword,  and  he  would  have 
decided  the  question  of  ownership  then  and  there  had  not 
Lueifera  decreed  he  and  his  opponent  should  settle  their 
quarrel  in  the  lists  on  the  morrow.  During  the  ensuing 
night,  Duessa  secretly  informs  Sansjoi  that  the  Eed  Cross 
Knight  is  his  brother's  slayer  and  promises  that,  should 
he  defeat  his  opponent,  she  wiU  belong  to  him  forever. 
On  the  morrow,  in  the  midst  of  much  feudal  pomp,  the 
chivalrous  duel  takes  place,  and — although  Duessa,  fancy- 
ing Sansjoi  is  about  to  win,  loudly  cheers  him — ^the  Eed 
Cross  Knight  finally  triumphs.  Planting  his  foot  upon  his 
foe,  Georgos  would  have  ended  Sansjoi 's  life  had  not  Duessa 
enveloped  her  proteg6  in  a  cloud  dense  enough  to  hide  him 
from  his  conqueror.  After  vainly  seeking  some  trace  of 
his  vanished  opponent,  the  Bed  Cross  Knight  is  proclaimed 
victor,  and  goes  back  to  the  castle  to  nurse  the  wounds  he 
has  received. 

Meanwhile  Duessa  steals  into  the  deserted  lists,  removes 
the  pall  of  cloud  which  envelops  Sansjoi,  and  tenderly 
confides  him  to  the  Queen  of  Night,  who  bears  him  down 
to  Hades,  where  Aesculapius  heals  his  wounds.  His  victor, 
the  Red  Cross  Knight,  has  not  entirely  recovered  from  this 
duel,  when  the  dwarf  rushes  into  his  presence  to  report 
that  while  prowling  around  the  castle  he  discovered  a  fright- 
ful dungeon,  where  men  and  women  are  imprisoned.  When 
he  declares  they  are  sojourning  in  a  wicked  place,  the  Red 
Cross  Knight  springs  out  of  bed  and,  helped  by  his  attend- 
ant, hastens  away  from  a  spot  which  now  inspires  him  with 
unspeakable  horror. 

They  have  barely  issued  from  the  castle  walls  before 
Georgos  realizes  he  has  been  the  victim  of  some  baleful 
spell,  for  he  now  perceives  that  the  building  rests  on  a 
sand  foundation  and  is  tottering  to  its  fall,  while  the 
pomp  which  so  dazzled  him  at  first  is  merely  outside  show 
and  delusion.  He  is  not  aware,  however,  that  Fidessa  has 
beguiled  him,  since  he  openly  regrets  she  is  not  present 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  259 

to  escape  with  him,  and  he  again  bewails  the  fact  that  Una 
was  not  as  pure  as  his  fancy  painted ! 

Meanwhile,  returning  to  the  castle  to  rejoin  her  victim, 
t)uessa  finds  the  Red  Cross  Knight  gone,  spurs  after  him, 
and  on  overtaking  him  gently  reproaches  him  for  abandon- 
ing her  in  such  a  place !  Then  she  entices  him  to  rest  by  a 
fountain,  whose  bewitched  waters  deprive  the  drinker  of 
aU  strength.  She  herself  offers  Georgos  a  draught  from 
this  fountain,  and,  after  he  has  drunk  thereof,  the  giant 
Orgolio  spurs  out  of  the  forest  and,  attacking  him  with  a 
mighty  club,  lays  him  low  and  bears  him  off  to  his  dungeon, 
to  torture  him  the  rest  of  his  life.  Meantime  Duessa  humbly 
follows  the  giant,  promising  him  her  love,  while  the  dwarf, 
who  has  watched  the  encounter  from  afar,  sorrowfully  col- 
lects his  master's  armor  and,  piling  it  hastily  on  his  steed, 
rides  off  in  quest  of  help. 

Meanwhile  the  real  Una,  on  awakening  in  the  hermitage 
to  learn  that  the  Red  Cross  Knight  and  the  dwarf  have 
gone,  rides  after  them  as  fast  as  her  little  white  ass  can 
trot.  Of  course  her  attempt  to  overtake  her  companions 
is  vain,  and  after  travelling  a  long  distance  she  dismounts 
in  a  forest  to  rest.  Suddenly  she  is  almost  paralyzed  with 
fear,  for  a  roaring  lion  bursts  through  the  thicket  to  devour 
her.  Still,  in  fairy-land  wild  beasts  cannot  harm  kings' 
daughters,  provided  they  are  pure,  so  the  .lion — ^the  per- 
sonification of  CburageT-not  only  spares  Una,  but  humbly 
licks  her  feet,  and  accompanies  her  as  watch-dog  when  she 
resumes  her  journey.  They  two  soon  reach  the  house  of 
Superstition,  an  old  woman,  whose  daughter.  Stupidity, 
loves  a"  robber  of  churches.  When  this  lover  attempts  to 
visit  her  secretly  by  night,  he  is  slain  by  the  lion ;  where- 
upon the  two  women  angrily  banish  Una.  She  is  therefore 
again  wandering  aimlessly  in  the  forest  when  Archimago 
meets  her  in  the  guise  of  the  Red  Cross  Knight,  for  he 
wishes  her  to  believe  he  is  her  missing  champion.  On  per- 
ceiving the  lion,  however,  the  magician  approaches  Una 
cautiously,  but  the  fair  maiden,  suspecting  no  fraud,  joy- 


260  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

fully  runs  to  meet  Mm,  declaring  she  has  missed  him 
terribly. 

They  two  have  not  proceeded  far  before  they  encounter 
Sansloi,—Lawlessness,:— brother  of  the  two  knights  with 
whom  Georgos  recently  fought.  Anxious  to  avenge  their 
death,  this  new-comer  boldly  charges  at  the  wearer  of  the 
Red  Cross.  Although  terrified  at  the  mere  thought  of  an 
encounter,  Arehimago  is  forced  to  lower  his  lance  in  self- 
defence,  but,  as  he  is  no  expert,  he  is  overthrown  at  the 
first  blow.  Springing  down  from  his  steed,  Sansloi  sets 
his  foot  upon  his  fallen  foe  and  tries  to  remove  his  helmet 
so  as  to  deal  him  a  deadly  blow.  But  no  sooner  does  he 
behold  the  crafty  lineaments  of  Arehimago  in  place  of  those 
of  the  Red  Cross  EJiight,  than  he  contemptuously  abandons 
his  opponent  to  recover  his  senses  at  leisure,  and  starts 
off  in  pursuit  of  Una,  whose  beauty  has  charmed  his  lustful 
eye. 

In  a  vain  endeavor  to  protect  his  mistress,  the  lion 
next  loses  his  life,  and  Sansloi,  plucking  the  shrieking  Una 
from  her  ass,  flings  her  across  his  palfrey  and  rides  off  into 
the  forest,  followed  by  the  little  steed,  which  is  too  faith- 
ful to  forsake  its  mistress.  On  arriving  in  the  depths  of 
the  forest,  Sansloi  dismounts,  but  Una's  cries  attract  a 
company  of  fauns  and  satyrs,  whose  uncanny  faces  inspire 
Sansloi  with  such  terror  that  he  flees,  leaving  his  captive  in 
their  power.  Notwithstanding  their  strange  appearance, 
these  wild  men  are  essentially  chivalrous,  for  they  speedily 
assure  Una  no  harm  shall  befall  her  in  their  company.  In 
return  she  instructs  them  in  regard  to  virtue  and  truth, 
until  Sir  Satyrane  appears,  who  generously  volunteers  to 
go  with  her  in  search  of  the  Red  Cross  Knight. 

Those  two  have  not  ridden  far  together  before  they  en- 
counter a  pilgrim,  who  reports  the  Red  Cross  Knight  has 
just  been  slain  in  a  combat  by  a  knight  who  is  now  quench- 
ing his  thirst  at  a  neighboring  fountain.  Following  this 
pilgrim's  directions.  Sir  Satyrane  soon  overtakes  the  re- 
ported slayer  of  Georgos,  and  while  they  two  struggle  to- 
gether, the  terrified  Una  flees  into  the  forest,  closely  pur- 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  261 

sued  by  the  pilgrim,  Archimago  ia  a  new  disguise.  Mean- 
time the  fight  continues  until  Sansloi,  severely  wounded, 
beats  a  retreat,  leaving  Sir  Satyrane  too  injured  to  follow 
Una.  She,  however,  has  meantime  overtaken  her  dwarf, 
and  learned  from  him  that  the  Eed  Cross  Knight  is  a  pris- 
oner of  Orgolio.  Thereupon  she  vows  not  to  rest  until  she 
has  rescued  her  companion.  She  and  her  dwarf  are  hasten- 
ing in  the  direction  in  which  the  giant  vanished  with  his 
victim,  when  they  meet.£iiac£LiiXthjUf, — a  personification 
of  JLeicester  and  of  Chivalry,; — who,  although  he  has  never 
yet  seen  the  Fairy  Queen,  is  so  deeply  in  love  with  her 
that  he  does  battle  in  her  name  whenever  he  can.  This 
prince  is  incased  in  a  magic  armor,  made  by  Merlin,  and 
bears  a  shield  fashioned  from  a  single  diamond,  whose 
brightness  is  so  dazzling  that  it  has  to  be  kept  covered,  so 
as  not  to  blind  all  beholders. 

After  courteously  greeting  Una,  the  prince,  hearing  her 
tale  of  woe,  volunteers  to  accompany  her  and  free  the  Eed 
Cross  Knight.  When  they  reach  the  castle  of  Orgolio, — 
Spiritual  Pride, — ^Arthur  and  his  squire  boldly  summon  the 
owner  to  come  out  and  fight.  No  answer  is  at  first  vouch- 
safed them,  but  after  a  blast  from  Arthur's  magic  bugle  the 
gates  burst  open,  and  out  of  the  stronghold  rushes  a  seven- 
headed  dragon,  bearing  on  its  back  the  witch  Duessa.  This 
monster  is  closely  followed  by  the  giant  Orgolio,  who  en- 
gages in  fight  with  Prince  Arthur,  while  the  squire,  Timias, 
directs  his  efforts  against  the  seven-headed  beast.  Although 
the  prince  and  his  attendant  finally  overcome  these  terrible 
foes,  their  triumph  is  due  to  the  fact  that  in  the  midst  of 
the  fray  Prince  Arthur's  shield  is  accidentally  uncovered 
and  its  brightness  queUs  both  giant  and  beast.  But  no 
sooner  are  the  fallen  pierced  with  the  victors'  swords  than 
they  shrink  to  nothing,  for  they  are  mere  wind-bags,  or 
delusions  of  Archimago 's  devising. 

On  seeing  the  triumph  won  by  her  champions,  Una  con- 
gratulates them,  and  bids  the  squire  pursue  Duessa,  who 
is  now  trying  to  escape.  Thus  enjoined,  Timias  seizes  the 
witch,  and,  in  obedience  to  Una's  orders,  strips  her  of  her 


THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

fine  clothes  and  sends  her  forth  in  her  original  loathsome 
shape.  Meantime  Una  and  the  prince  boldly  penetrate 
into  the  castle,  and,  passing  hurriedly  through  rooms  over- 
flowing with  treasures,  reach  a  squalid  dungeon,  where 
they  discover  the  Ked  Cross  Knight  almost  starved  to  death. 
Pull  of  compassion  they  bear  him  to  comfortable  quarters, 
where  they  proceed  to  nurse  him  back  to  health ;  and,  when 
he  is  once  more  able  to  ride,  he  and  Una  resume  their 
journey.  As  they  proceed,  however,  Una  becoming  aware 
that  her  champion  is  not  yet  strong  enough  to  do  battle, 
conducts  him  to  a  house,  where  the  wise  old  matron  Re- 
ligion, Doctor  Patience,  and  three  handmaidens,  Faith, 
Hope,  and  Charity,  nurse  him  to  such  good  purpose  that 
Georgos  is  soon  stronger  than  ever.  During  his  convales- 
cence in  this  hospitable  abode,  the  Red  Cross  Knight  once 
wanders  to  the  top  of  the  hill  of  Contemplation,  whence 
he  is  vouchsafed  a  vision  of  the  New  Jerusalem,  and  where 
he  encounters  an  old  man  who  prophesies  that  after  ful- 
filling his  present  quest  he  wiU  be  known  as  ' '  Saint  George 
of  Merry  England."  Modestly  deeming  himself  unworthy 
of  such  distinction,  the  Red  Cross  Knight  objects  that  a 
ploughman's  son  should  not  receive  such  honor,  until  the 
aged  man  informs  him  he  is  in  reality  the  son  of  the  British 
king,  stolen  from  his  cradle  by  a  wicked  fairy,  who,  finding 
him  too  heavy  to  carry,  dropped  him  in  a  field  where  a 
farmer  discovered  and  adopted  him.  Notwithstanding  this 
rustic  breeding  it  was  Georgos '  noble  blood  that  ui^ed  him 
to  seek  adventures,  and  sent  him  to  Gloriana's  court,  whence 
he  sallied  forth  on  his  present  quest. 

After  another  brief  sojourn  in  the  house  of  Religion, 
the  Red  Cross  Knight  and  Una  again  set  forth,  and  passing 
through  another  wilderness  reach  a  land  ravaged  and  be- 
fouled by  the  dragon  which  holds  Una's  parents  in  durance 
vile.  The  lady  is  just  pointing  out  her  distant  home  to 
the  Red  Cross  Knight,  when  she  hears  the  dragon  coming, 
and,  bidding  her  champion  fight  him  bravely,  takes  refuge 
in  a  cave  near  by.  Spurring  forward  to  encounter  his 
opponent,  the  Red  Cross  Knight  comes  face  to  face  with  a 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  263 

hideous  monster,  sheathed  in  brazen  scales  and  lashing  a 
tail  that  sweeps  over  acres  at  a  time.  This  monster  is 
further  provided  with  redoubtable  iron  teeth  and  brazen 
claws,  and  breathes  forth  sulphur  and  other  deadly  fumes. 

Notwithstanding  his  opponent's  advantages,  Georgos 
boldly  attacks  him,  only  to  find  no  weapon  can  pierce  the 
metal  scales.  At  the  end  of  the  first  day's  fight,  the  dragon 
withdraws,  confident  he  will  get  the  better  of  his  foe  on 
the  morrow.  At  the  close  of  the  second  day,  the  monster's 
tail  whisks  Georgos  into  a  pool,  whose  waters  fortunately 
prove  so  healing  that  this  bath  washes  away  every  trace 
of  weakness  and  restores  him  to  health  and  strength.  On 
the  third  day's  encounter,  the  Red  Cross  Knight  manages 
to  run  his  sword  into  the  dragon's  mouth,  and  thus  inflicts 
a  deadly  wound.  Seeing  her  foe  writhing  at  last  in  the 
agonies  of  death,  Una  joyfully  emerges  from  her  hiding- 
place,  while  the  watchman  on  the  castle  tower  loudly  pro- 
claims that  they  are  free  at  last ! 

The  poet  vividly  describes  the  relief  of  Una's  parents 
on  being  able  to  emerge  from  their  castle  once  more,  and 
their  joy  on  embracing  the  daughter  who  has  effected  their 
rescue.  The  castle  inmates  not  only  load  Una  with  praise, 
but  escort  her  and  her  champion  back  to  their  abode,  where 
their  marriage  takes  place  amid  general  rejoicings.  But, 
although  the  Red  Cross  Knight  would  fain  linger  by  Una, 
he  remembers  his  promise  to  serve  Gloriana  for  six  years, 
and  sets  out  immediately  to  redress  other  wrongs. 

BOOK  II.     THE  LEGEND  OF  SIR  GUTON,  OE  OP  TEMPERANCE 

The  next  adventure  in  the  Faerie  Queene  is  that  of  ..^ 
GuYon. — personifying  Temperance, — who  is  escorted  every- 
where by  a  black-garbed  palmer.-^Pnidenee  or  Abstinence, 
— at  whose  dictation  he  performs  all  manner  of  heroic  deeds. 
Journeying  together  they  soon  meet  a  squire,  who  reports 
a  lady  has  just  been  captured  by  a  wicked  knight,  who  is 
bearing  her  away.  On  hearing  of  this  damsel's  peril.  Sir 
Guyon  bids  her  squire  lead  them  in  the  direction  where  she 
vanished,  declaring  h?  will  save  her  if  possible,    He  soon 


264  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

encounters  a  maiden  with  dishevelled  locks  and  torn  gar- 
ments, who  delays  him  by  informing  him  that  she  has  been 
illtreated  by  a  knight  bearing  the  device  of  a  red  cross. 
Although  loath  to  believe  Georgos  can  be  guilty  of  an  un- 
ehivalrie  deed,  Sir  Guyon  and  the  palmer  promise  to  call 
him  to  account  as  soon  as  they  overtake  him.  They  no 
sooner  do  so,  however,  than  he  assures  them  Archimago  in 
his  guise  has  been  ranging  through  the  forest,  and  that  they 
must  have  met  Duessa.  Turning  to  punish  the  lying  squire 
who  led  them  astray,  Sir  Guyon  now  perceives  he  has  van- 
ished, and  humbly  begs  pardon  of  the  Red  Cross  Knight. 

Shortly  after.  Sir  Guyon  is  startled  by  loud  shrieks, 
and,  hastening  in  the  direction  whence  they  proceed,  dis- 
covers a  wounded  lady  and  a  dead  knight.  Close  beside  the 
lady  is  a  young  babe,  whose  innocent  hands  are  dabbling 
in  his  parent's  blood.  On  questioning  the  woman.  Sir 
Guyon  learns  that  her  husband  has  been  bewitched  by 
Aerasia, — -or  Pleasure, — ^who  bore  him  off  to  the  Bower  of 
Bliss,  a  place  where  she  detains  her  captives,  feeding  them 
on  sweets  until  their  manly  courage  is  gone.  On  learning 
her  husband  had  fallen  into  the  power  of  this  enchantress, 
the  lady  had  sought  theJBoffigr  of  Bliss  and  by  dint  of 
wifely  devotion  had  rescued  her  spouse.  But,  even  as  they 
left,  the  witch  bestowed  upon  them  a  magic  cup,  in  which 
little  suspecting  its  evil  powers,  the  wife  offered  water  to 
her  husband.  No  sooner  had  he  drunk  than  blood  gushed 
from  his  mouth  and  he  died,  whereupon,  frantic  at  having 
unwittingly  slain  the  man  she  loved,  the  lady  had  dealt 
herself  a  mortal  wound  with  his  sword. 

Scarcely  had  the  sufferer  finished  this  account  when 
she  sank  back  lifeless,  so  Sir  Guyon  and  the  palmer,  after 
burying  the  parents,  vainly  tried  to  remove  the  blood 
stains  from  the  infant's  hands.  Then,  unable  to  care 
properly  for  him  themselves,  they  entrusted  it  to  some 
ladies  in  a  castle  near  by,  bidding  them  call  the  babe  Ruddy 
Main,  or  the  Red  Handed,  and  send  him  to  court  when  he 
had  grown  up. 

Having  thus  provided  for  the  orphan.  Sir  Guyon,  whose 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  265 

horse  and  spear  meanwhile  have  been  purloined  by  Brag- 
gadocchio,  decides  to  recover  possession  of  them,  and  to 
seek  the  Bower  of  Bliss  to  slay  the  witch  Aerasia,  who  has 
caused  such  grievous  harm.  On  this  quest  Sir  Guyon  and 
the  palmer  encounter  the  madman  Furor,  and  then  reach 
a  stream  which  is  too  deep  to  ford.  While  they  are  seek- 
ing some  conveyance  to  bear  them  across,  they  perceive  a 
skiff  rowed  by  a  fair  lady,  Phaedria, — or  Mirth.  At  their 
call  she  pushes  her  boai  close  toThem^  biiit^o^  sooner  has 
Sir  Guyon  sprung  aboard  than  she  pushes  off,  leaving  the 
palmer  behind  in  spite  of  all  entreaties.  Although  impelled 
neither  by  oars  nor  sails,  Phaedria 's  boat  drifts  rapidly 
over  the  Idle  Sea,  and  Sir  Guyon,  on  questioning  its  owner, 
learns  they  are  bound  for  her  magic  realm. 

They  have  scarcely  touched  the  sedgy  shores  of  a  charm- 
iag  island,  when  a  ruffian,  ^mochleSj— or  Decdt, — ^bursts 
out  of  the  thicket  to  claim  the  lady.  Undaunted  by  the 
size  of  his  challenger.  Sir  Guyon  attacks  him,  and  the  duel 
might  have  proved  fatal  had  not  Phaedria  cast  herself  be- 
tween the  champions,  begging  them  not  to  quarrel  in  the 
land  of  love  and  delight.  Thereupon  Sir  Guyon  hotly  iu- 
forms  her  he  has  no  desire  to  slay  Deceit  or  to  claim  her, 
and,  seeing  she  cannot  make  any  impression  upon  him, 
Phaedria  angrily  bids  him  reenter  the  boat,  which  soon 
bears  him  to  the  place  which  he  wished  to  reach. 

Although  still  mourning  the  loss  of  his  companion,  the 
palmer.  Sir  Guyon  decides  to  continue  his  quest  for  the 
Bower  of  Bliss.  While  passing  through  a  dense  thicket, 
his  attention  is  attracted  by  a  clank  of  metal,  and  peering 
through  the  branches  he  descries  an  old,  dirt-encrusted  man, 
surrounded  by  mounds  of  precious  stones  and  coins,  which 
keep  droppiag  through  his  fingers.  This  creature  is  Mam- 
mon,— God  of  Wea,lth,— who  is  so  busy  counting  his  treas- 
ures that  at  first  he  pays  no  heed  to  Sir  Guyon.  When 
questioned,  however,  he  boasts  he  is  more  powerful  than 
any  potentate  in  the  world,  and  tries  to  entice  Sir  Guyon 
to  enter  into  his  service  by  promising  him  much  gold.  For 
a  moment  Sir  Guyon  wavers,  but  finally  decides  not  to 


266  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

accept  the  offer  until  he  has  ascertained  whether  Mammon 's 
riches  have  been  honestly  gained.  To  show  whence  he 
draws  them,  the  money-god  now  conveys  Sir  Guyon  to  the 
bowels  of  the  earth,  and  there  lets  him  view  his  minions 
mining  gold,  silver,  and  precious  stones,  and  thus  constantly 
increasing  his  hoard.  But,  although  sorely  tempted,  Sir 
Guyon  perceives  that  Mammon's  workmen  are  oppressed 
by  Care  and  driven  by  ^Fjorce  and  Fraud,  who  keep  them 
constantly  at  work  and  never  allow  Sleep-  to  approach  them. 
This  discovery  makes  him  decide  to  have  nothing  to  do  with 
Mammon's  treasures,  although  he  is  led  into  a  hall  where 
hosts  of  people  are  paying  homage  to  the  money  king's 
daughter,  who,  he  is  told,  will  be  his  bride  if  he  will  only 
accept  her  father's  offers.  Coldly  rejoining  that  his  troth 
is  already  plighted.  Sir  Guyon  refuses,  only  to  emerge  from 
this  hall  into  a  garden,  through  whose  branches  he  catches 
fleeting  glimpses  of  the  underworld.  In  one  of  its  rivers 
he  even  beholds  Tantalus,  undergoing  torments  from  hunger 
and  thirst,  in  punishment  for  sins  committed  while  on  earth. 

After  being  subjected  for  three  days  to  all  the  tempta- 
tions of  the  underworld.  Sir  Guyon  is  led  back  to  the  light 
of  day,  where  Mammon — ^who  bitterly  terms  him  a  fool — 
abandons  him. 

The  story  now  returns  to  the  palmer,  who,  after  watch- 
ing Sir  Guyon  out  of  sight,  wanders  along  the  stream  in 
quest  of  a  vessel  to  follow  his  master.  Several  days  later 
he  manages  to  cross,  only  to  hear  a  silvery  voice  calling  for 
aid.  Bursting  through  the  thicket,  he  discovers  Sir  Guyon, 
lying  on  the  ground,  watched  over  by  a  spirit  of  such 
transcendent  beauty  that  the  palmer  realizes  it  must  be 
an  angel  even  before  he  notes-  its  diaphanous  wings.  This 
ministering  spirit  assures  the  palmer  that  Sir  Guyon  will 
soon  recover,  adding  that  although-  unseen  he  will  continue 
to  watch  over  him,  and  will  help  him  to  escape  from  all 
the  dangers  along  his  path.  Then  the  heavenly  spirit  van- 
ishes, and,  while  the  palmer  is  bending  over  the  fainting 
Sir  Guyon,  he  sees  two  knights  draw  near,  preceded  by  a 
page  and  followed  by  an  old  man,    These  knights  are  Deceit 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  267 

md  his^  brother,  who  have  been  brought  hither  by  the  old 
man  ArcEmago,  to  slay  Sir  Guyon  whom  they  hate. 

Drawing  near,  these  ruffians  thrust  the  palmer  aside,  but, 
while  they  are  stripping  the  unconscious  man  of  his  armor, 
another  knight  suddenly  draws  near  and  attacks  them. 
One  giant,  being  without  a  sword,  seizes  that  of  Sir  Guyon, 
although  Arehimago  warns  him  that  as  it  once  belonged 
to  his  antagonist,  it  will  never  harm  him. 

Prince  Arthur,  for  it  is  he,  now  overcomes  the  ruffians, 
to  whom  he  generously  offers  life,  provided  they  will  obey 
him  hereafter.  But,  when  they  refuse  these  terms,  he 
ruthlessly  slays  them,  and  their  spirits  flee  shrieking  "to 
the  land  of  eternal  night." 

At  this  moment  Sir  Guyon  recovers  his  senses,  and  is 
overjoyed  to  find  the  palmer  beside  him  and  to  leam  that 
Prince  Arthur,  who  rescued  him  from  the  ruffians,  is  not 
far  away. 

After  a  brief  rest,  Prince  Arthur  and  Sir  Guyon  de- 
part together,  the  former  explaining  how  anxious  he  is  to 
do  anything  in  his  power  for  Queen  Gloriana,  whom  he 
devotedly  loves  although  he  has  never  yet  seen  her.  Con- 
versing together,  the  two  ride  on  to  a  castle,  where  no  heed 
is  paid  to  their  request  for  a  night's  lodging.  They  are 
marvelling  at  such  a  discourtesy,  when  a  head  is  thrust 
over  the  battlement  and  a  hoarse  voice  bids  them  flee, 
explaining  that  the  castle  has  been  besieged  for  seven  years 
past  by  barbarians  lurking  in  the  forest,  against  whom  no 
knight  has  ever  been  able  to  prevail. 

It  is  while  the  watchman  is  thus  accounting  for  his  in- 
hospitality,  that  a  rout  of  hungry  barbarians  bursts  out  of 
the  forest  and  attacks  Sir  Guyon  and  Prince  Arthur,  both 
of  whom  fight  to  such  good  purpose  that  they  utterly 
annihilate  their  assailants.  Happy  to  be  delivered  from 
these  foes,  the  inhabitants  of  the  castle  then  open  wide 
their  gates.  Our  knights  spend  several  days  there  restrag 
from  their  labors,  and  perusing  sundry  books  where  they 
leam  the  history  of  aU  the  British  kings.  Meantime  the 
palmer,  who  has  followed  them  thither,  forges  chains  and 


268  THE  BOOK  OP  THE  EPIC 

a  steel  net,  with  which  to  capture  and  hold  the  witch 
Acrasia  when  the  right  time  comes.  "When  he  has  finished 
manufacturing  these  objects,  he  persuades  Sir  Guyon  to 
start  out  once  more.  Reaching  the  water  again,  they  board 
a  vessel,  which  bears  them  safely  past  the  Magnetic  Rock, 
over  the  Sea  of  Gluttony,  etc.,  to  an  island,  whose  beauty 
htunan  imagination  cannot  conceive. 

On  landing,  the  travellers  are  surprised  to  encounter 
strange  monsters,  and  to  be  enveloped  in  dense  mists, 
through  which  they  hear  the  flapping  of  bat-like  wings  and 
catch  glimpses  of  harpy-like  creatures.  Knowing  monsters 
and  mists  are  mere  delusions.  Sir  Guyon  pays  little  heed 
to  them,  and  the  palmer  soon  disperses  them  by  a  touch 
from  his  magic  staff.  Still  bearing  the  steel  net  and  iron 
chains,  this  faithful  henchman  foUows  Sir  Guyon  into  the 
enchanted  bower  of  Acrasia,  where  he  explains  to  his  master 
that  the  animals  he  sees  owe  their  present  forms  to  the 
enchantress'  power,  for  she  always  transforms  her  visitors 
into  beasts! 

Through  an  ivory  gate, — on  which  is  carved  the  story 
of  "The  Golden  Fleece," — ^the  adventurers  enter  a  hall, 
where  a  porter  offers  them  wine.  But  Sir  Guyon,  knowing 
a  drop  of  it  would  have  a  baleful  effect  upon  the  drinker, 
boldly  dashes  it  out  of  his  hand.  Then,  threading  his  way 
through  the  Bower  of  Bliss,  he  reaches  its  innermost  grove, 
although  Phaedria  tries  to  detain  him  by  offering  him 
sundry  pleasures.  Pressing  onward.  Sir  Guyon  finally 
catches  a  glimpse  of  Acrasia  herself,  reposing  upon  a  bed 
of  fiowers,  and  holding  on  Eer  lap  the  head  of  an  innocent 
youth,  who  is  helpless  owing  to  her  spell.  Silently  signalling 
to  the  palmer.  Sir  Guyon  spreads  out  the  steel  net,  which 
they  fling  so  deftly  over  witch  and  victim  that  neither  can 
escape.  Then  Sir  Guyon  binds  Acrasia  fast,  threatening 
to  kill  her  unless  she  removes  the  speU  which  she  has  laid 
upon  her  captives.  All  the  beasts  on  the  island  are  there- 
fore soon  restored  to  their  natural  forms,  and  all  profess 
gratitude,  save  one,  whom  the  palmer  grimly  bids  continue 
to  be  a  pig,  since  such  is  his  choice ! 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  269 

Having  thus  happily  achieved  this  quest,  Sir  Guyon 
and  the  palmer  leave  the  island  with  Acrasia,  who  is  sent 
under  strong  guard  to  the  court  of  the  Fairy  Queen,  where 
Gloriana  is  to  dispose  of  her  according  to  her  good  pleasure. 

BOOK  in.      THE  STORY  OP  BRITOMABT, CHASTITY 

Britomart,  only  child  of  King  Ryence,  had  from  earliest 
childhood  so  longed  to  be  a  boy  that,  instead  of  devoting  her 
time  to  womanly  occupations,  she  practised  manly  sports 
until  she  became  as  expert  a  warrior  as  any  squire  in  her 
father's  realm. 

One  day,  while  wandering  in  the  palace,  she  discovered 
in  the  treasure-room  a  magic  mirror,  fashioned  by  Merlin 
for  her  father,  wherein  one  could  behold  the  secrets  of  the 
future.  Gazing  into  its  crystal  depths  while  wondering 
whom  she  should  ultimately  marry,  Britomart  suddenly  saw 
a  handsome  knight,  who  bore  a  motto  proclaiming  that  he 
was  _Six Artegall,  the  Champion jof,  Justice  and  proud  pos- 
sessor of  Achilles'  armor.  Scarcely  had  Britomart  per- 
ceived this  much  than  the  vision  faded.  But  the  princess 
left  the  room,  feeling  that  henceforth  she  would  know  no 
rest  until  she  had  met  her  destined  mate.  When  she  con- 
fided this  vision  to  her  nurse  Glance,  the  worthy  woman  sug- 
gested that  they  go  and  consult  Merlin,  wearing  the  garb 
of  men. 

Early  the  next  day,  therefore,  the  two  visited  the 
magician,  who,  piercing  their  disguise,  declared  he  knew 
who  they  were,  and  bade  them  ride  forth  as  knight  and 
squire  to  meet  the  person  they  sought.  Thus  encouraged, 
Britomart,  wearing  an  Amazon's  armor  and  bearing  a 
magic  spear,  set  out  on  her  quest,  and  met  Prince  Arthur 
and  Sir  Guyon,  just  after  Acrasia  had  been  dispatched  to 
Gloriana 's  court  and  while  they  were  in  quest  of  new 
adventures. 

Seeing  a  warrior  approach.  Sir  Guyon  immediately  low- 
ered his  lance,  but  to  his  surprise  was  unhorsed  by  Brito- 
mart's  invincible  spear.     She  was  about  to  dismount  to 


270  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

despatcli  her  fallen  foe  with  her  sword,  when  the  palmer 
loudly  bade  his  master  crave  mercy,  seeing  it  was  useless 
to  contend  against  magic  weapons.  Hearing  this,  Sir  Guyon 
surrendered,  and  he  and  Prince  Arthur  humbly  offered  to 
escort  Britomart,  whom  they  naturally  took  for  a  powerful 
knight. 

They  had  not  gone  very  far  when  they  beheld  at  a  dis- 
tance a  damsel  dashing  madly  through  the  bushes,  casting 
fearful  glances  behind  her,  for  she  was  closely  pursued  by 
a  grizzly  forester.  All  their  ohivalric  instincts  aroused. 
Prince  Arthur  and  his  companions  spurred  hotly  after  the 
distressed  damsel,  while  Britomart  and  her  nurse  calmly 
rode  on,  until  they  came  to  a  castle,  at  whose  gates  one 
knight  was  desperately  fighting  against  six.  Seeing  this, 
Britomart  boldly  rode  to  the  rescue  of  the  oppressed  knight, 
and  fought  beside  him  to  such  good  purpose  that  they 
defeated  their  assailants.  Then,  entering  the  castle,  Brito- 
mart and  her  nurse  proceeded  to  care  for  their  companion, 
the  Red  Cross  Knight,  who  had  received  serious  wounds. 

Although  he  had  noticed  in  the  midst  of  the  conflict 
that  a  golden  curl  had  escaped  from  Britomart 's  helmet  and 
fallen  over  her  breast,  and  had  thus  discovered  her  sex, 
he  courteously  ignored  it  until  they  were  about  to  ride 
away  together,  when  he  respectfully  offered  to  serve  as  the 
lady's  protector  and  escort.  Thereupon  Britomart  ex- 
plained who  she  was,  adding  that  she  was  in  quest  of  Sir 
Artegall,  of  whom  she  spoke  rather  slightingly,  because 
she  did  not  wish  her  companion  to  know  how  deeply  she 
had  fallen  in  love  with  a  stranger.  Judging  from  her  tone 
that  she  did  not  approve  of  Sir  Artegall,  the  Red  Cross 
Knight  hotly  protested  he  was  the  noblest  and  most  cour- 
teous knight  that  had  ever  lived,  which,  of  course,  pleased 
Britomart. 

Meantime,  Prince  Arthur  and  Sir  Guyon,  with  their 
respective  attendants,  pursued  the  distressed  damsel,  riding 
through  thick  and  thin  until  they  came  to  cross-roads.  Not 
knowing  which  path  the  fugitive  had  chosen,  our  heroes 
decided  to  part  and  ride  along  separate  ways.    Thus,  it  was 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  271 

Prince  Arthur  who  first  caught  a  glimpse  of  the  fugitive, 
who  still  kept  glancing  backward  as  if  afraid ;  but,  although 
hs  spurred  on  as  fast  as  possible,  he  was  not  able  to  over- 
take her,  and  had  to  pause  at  nightfall  to  rest.  On  resuming 
his  quest  on  the  morrow,  he  soon  encountered  a  dwarf,  who 
reported  he  was  the  servant  of  Lady  PlorimeU,  who  had 
fled  from  court  five  days  ago  on  hearing  a  rumor  that  her 
lover,  Marinell,  was  slain.  The  poor  damsel,  while  in  quest 
of  her  lover,  had  been  seen  and  pursued  by  an  ill-favored 
forester,  and  the  dwarf  feared  some  harm  might  have  be- 
fallen her.  To  comfort  this  faithful  henchman,  Prince 
Arthur  promised  to  go  with  him  and  rescue  the  unhappy 
damsel. 

Meantime,  undaunted  by  darkness,  Florimell  had  ridden 
on  until  her  weary  steed  paused  before  a  hut  deep  in  the 
woods.  There  she  dismounted  and  humbly  begged  the  old 
witch  who  lived  there  to  give  her  some  food.  Moved 
by  the  distress  of  the  stranger,  the  sorceress  bade  her 
dry  her  garments  at  her  fire,  and  while  the  lady  was 
sitting  there  the  witch's  son,  a  lazy  worthless  fellow,  sud- 
denly entered.  To  see  Florimell  was  to  love  her,  so  the 
uncouth  rustic  immediately  began  to  court  her  with  fruits 
and  flowers  which  he  sought  ia  the  forest.  Fearing  lest  he 
should  molest  her  finally,  Florimell  escaped  from  the  hut 
on  her  palfrey,  which  she  found  in  the  witch's  stable. 

On  awakening  on  the  morrow  to  find  their  fair  visitor 
gone,  the  witch  and  her  son  were  in  such  despair  that  they 
let  loose  a  vnld  beast,  which  they  owned,  bidding  him  track 
the  missing  girl.  Before  long,  therefore,  poor  Florimell 
heard  this  monster  crashing  through  the  forest.  Terrified 
at  the  thought  of  falling  into  its  power,  she  urged  her 
steed  toward  the  sea-shore,  in  hopes  of  finding  a  boat  and 
getting  away.  On  reaching  the  water,  she  sprang  off  her 
steed,  and,  seeing  a  little  skiff  near  by,  stepped  into  it  and 
pushed  off,  without  securing  the  permission  of  the  fisher- 
man, who  was  sleeping  at  the  bottom  of  the  boat  while  his 
nets  were  drying  on  the  sand. 

Barely  were  they  out  of  reach  when  the  beast  rushed 


272  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

down  to  the  shore,  pounced  upon  Plorimell's  horse  and  de- 
voured it.  The  monster  was  still  occupied  thus  when  Sir 
Satyrane  came  riding  along.  He  rashly  concluded  the  beast 
had  devoured  the  rider  too,  a  fear  confirmed  by  the  sight 
of  FlorimeU's  girdle  on  the  sand.  Attacking  the  monster, 
Sir  Satyrane  overcame  and  bound  him  fast  with  the  girdle, 
but  he  hadn't  gone  far,  leading  this  reluctant  captive,  when 
he  spied  a  giantess  bearing  off  an  armed  squire.  In  his 
haste  to  overtake  her  and  rescue  a  fellow-man.  Sir  Satyrane 
spurred  forward  so  hastily  that  the  girdle  slipped  off  the 
neck  of  the  beast,  which,  finding  itself  free,  plunged  back 
into  the  forest.  To  attack  the  giantess,  free  her  captive, 
and  restore  him  to  his  senses  proved  short  work  for  Sir 
Satyrane,  who  learned  that  the  youth  he  had  delivered  was 
known  as  the  Squire  of  Dames,  because  he  constantly  rode 
through  the  forest  freeing  damsels  in  distress. 

Together  with  this  companion.  Sir  Satyrane  journeyed 
on  until  they  encountered  Sir  Paridell,  who  told  them  he 
was  in  quest  of  Florimell,  who  was  wandering  alone  in  the 
forest.  Thereupon  Sir  Satyrane  informed  Sir  Paridell  that 
the  maiden  must  be  dead,  exhibiting  as  proof  her  girdle  and 
relating  under  what  circumstances  it  had  been  found.  Then 
all  present  took  a  solemn  oath  not  to  rest  until  they  had 
avenged  the  lady's  death.  Biding  together  these  three 
knights,  overtaken  by  a  storm,  sought  shelter  in  a  neigh- 
boring castle,  only  to  be  refused  admittance.  To  escape  from 
the  downpour,  they  therefore  took  refuge  with  their  steeds 
ia  a  neighboring  shed,  and  were  scarcely  ensconced  there 
when  another  stranger  rode  up  seeking  shelter  too.  As 
there  was  no  room  left,  the  first-comers  forbade  the  stranger 
to  enter,  whereupon  he  challenged  them  to-  come  forth  and 
fight.  Hearing  this,  Sir  Paridell  sallied  out  and  began  a 
duel,  which  was  closely  watched  by  his  two  companions. 
They,  however,  decided  that  the  combatants  were  so  exactly 
matched  that  it  was  useless  to-  continue  the  fight,  and  sug- 
gested that  they  four  join  forces  to  make  their  way  into 
the  castle. 

Before  the  determined  attack  of  these  knights  and  of 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  273 

their  followers,  Malbeeco,  owner  of  the  castle,  opened  his 
gates,  and  the  strangers  proceeded  to  remove  their  armor 
and  make  themselves  at  home.  While  doing  so  all  present 
were  startled  to  see  that  one  of  their  number  was  a  woman, 
for  the  last-comer,  Britomart,  had  no  sooner  removed  her 
helmet  than  her  curls  fell  down  over  her  shoulders ! 

The  next  day  all  left  the  castle  save  Sir  Paridell,  who 
had  been  so  sorely  wounded  by  Britomart  that  he  was  forced 
to  remain  there  for  a  while.  Before  long  Britomart  and 
her  squire  parted  from  Sir  Satyrane  and  the  Squire  of 
Dames,  and  rode  along  until  they  beheld  a  shield  hanging 
from  a  branch  in  the  forest.  Sxu*prised  by  such  a  sight, 
they  invesitigated,  only  to  find  its  owner,  Sir  Scudamore, 
weeping  beside  a  stream,  because  his  bride,  Amoret,  had 
been  stolen  from  him  on  his  wedding  day  by  the  magician 
Busirane,  who  was  trying  to  force  her  to  marry  him.  Hav- 
ing heard  this  tale  of  woe,  Britomart  informed  Sir  Scuda- 
more that  instead  of  shedding  vain  tears  they  ought  to 
devise  means  to  rescue  the  captive  lady.  Encouraged  by 
these  words,  Sir  Scudamore  donned  his  discarded  armor 
and  volunteered  to  guide  Britomart  to  the  magician's  castle, 
explaining  on  the  way  that  it  was  surrounded  by  a  wall  of 
fire  through  which  none  had  been  able  to  pass. 

Undaunted  by  this  information,  Britomart  pressed  on- 
ward, and  on  reaching  the  castle  declared  her  intention  to 
charge  through  the  flames.  Although  Sir  Scudamore 
bravely  tried  to  accompany  her,  he  was  driven  back  by 
the  fierce  heat,  but  Britomart  passed  through  scatheless, 
and,  entering  the  castle,  found  herself  in  a  large  room, 
whence  led  a  door  with  the  inscription  "Be  bold."  After 
studjnng  these  words  for  a  few  moments,  Britomart  opened 
this  door  and  passed  through  it  into  a  second  chamber, 
whose  walls  were  Itaed  with  silver  and  gold,  where  she  saw 
another  door  above  which  the  same  words  were  written 
twice.  Opening  this  door  also,  Britomart  entered  into  a 
third  apartment,,  sparkling  with  precious  stones,  in  the 
centre  of  which  she  saw  an  altar  surmounted  by  a  statue  of 
Love.  Further  investigation  revealed  also  the  fact  that  it 
18 


074  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

boasted  another  door  above  which  was  the  inscription  ' '  Be 
bold,  but  not  too  bold. ' ' 

Pondering  on  the  meaning  of  this  warning,  Britomart 
decided  not  to  open  it,  but  to  take  up  her  vigU  fully  armed 
beside  the  altar.  As  the  clock  struck  midnight,  the  mys- 
terious door  flew  open,  and  through  its  portals  came  a 
strange  procession  of  beasts  and  queer  mortals,  leading  the 
doleful  Amoret,  who  had  a  dagger  thrust  into  her  heart 
and  stumbled  along  in  mortal  pain.  Although  Britomart 
would  fain  have  gone  to  Amoret 's  rescue,  she  was  rooted  to 
the  soil  by  a  spell  too  powerful  to  break,  and,  therefore, 
remained  inactive  while  the  procession  circled  around  the 
altar,  and  again  vanished  behind  the  door,  which  closed 
with  an  ominous  clang.  Then  only  the  speU  lost  its  power, 
and  Britomart,  springing  toward  the  door,  vainly  tried  to 
open  it.  Not  being  able  to  do  so,  she  decided  to  continue 
mounting  guard  on  this  spot  in  hopes  of  catching  another 
glimpse  of  the  suffering  lady.  But  only  twenty-four  hours 
later  the  door  reopened  and  the  same  procession  ap- 
peared; it  was  about  to  vanish  a  second  time  when  Brito- 
mart, by  a  violent  effort,  broke  the  spell  and  dashed  into 
the  next  apartment  before  the  door  closed. 

There,  finding  the  magician  Brusirane  on  the  point  of 
binding  Amoret  fast  to  a  post,  she  struck  him  so  powerful 
a  blow  that  he  was  obliged  to  recognize  he  was  in  her 
power.  Britomart  was  about  to  slay  him  when  Amoret  re- 
minded her  he  alone  could  heal  her  wound  and  free  the 
other  inmates  of  the  castle  from  magic  thraldom.  At  the 
point  of  her  sword,  therefore,  Britomart  compelled  the 
magician  to  undo  his  spells,  and,  when  he  had  pronounced 
the  necessary  words,  Amoret  stood  before  her  as  whole  and 
as  well  as  on  her  wedding-mom  when  snatched  away  from 
her  bridegroom.  Seeing  this,  Britomart  bade  Amoret  fol- 
low her  out  of  the  castle,  assuring  her  that  her  husband 
was  waiting  without  and  would  be  overjoyed  to  see  her  once 
more.  But,  although  the  rescued  lady  now  gladly  followed 
her  deliverer,  she  was  sorely  dismayed  on  reaching  the 
forest  to  find  that  Sir  Scudamore  and  Britomart 's  nurse  and 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  275 

squire  had  gone  away,  evidently  deeming  them  both  lost. 
To  comfort  poor  Amoret,  Britomart  suggested  that  they 
ride  after  their  companions,  a  proposal  which  Amoret  gladly 
accepted. 

BOOK  IV.      LEGEND  OP  COMBEL  AND  TBIAMOND,  OR  OF 
FRIENDSHIP 

As  Britomart  conjectured.  Sir  Seudamore,  deeming  it 
impossible  she  should  survive  the  heat  of  the  flames  which 
had  so  sorely  scorched  him,  persuaded  the  nurse  to  ride 
on  with  him,  in  hopes  of  encountering  knights  who  would 
help  him  rescue  his  bride. 

They  two  soon  met  a  couple  of  warriors,  who,  on  hearing 
their  tale,  laughingly  assured  them  they  need  make  no 
further  efforts  to  rescue  Amoret,  as  she  had  meantime  been 
saved  by  a  handsome  young  knight,  with  whom  she  was 
gayly  riding  through  the  forest.  Incensed  by  this  state- 
ment. Sir  Seudamore  offered  to  fight  both  informers,  who, 
laughing  at  him  for  being  jilted,  rode  contemptuously  away. 
These  two  mockers  hadn't  gone  very  far,  however,  before 
they  encountered  a  beautiful  damsel,  whom  they  mistook 
for  the  long-lost  Florimell,  but  who  was  merely  an  image 
of  her  conjured  up  by  the  witch  to  comfort  her  son  when 
he  blubbered  over  the  loss  of  his  fair  lady.  As  many 
knights  were  in  quest  of  Florimell,  some  of  them  soon 
encountered  the  scoffers,  who  declared  they  were  leading 
the  lady  back  to  court.  But  a  little  while  later  the  Squire 
of  Dames  found  them  contending  for  the  possession  of  the 
false  Florimell,  and  suggested  that  they  settle  their  differ- 
ence at  the  court  of  Sir  Satyrane,  where  a  tournament  had 
been  proclaimed  and  where  Florimell 's  girdle  was  to  be 
bestowed  by  the  victor  upon  the  fairest  lady  present.  Hear- 
ing this,  both  knights,  anxious  to  win  the  girdle,  set  out 
for  the  tournament,  where  many  others  had  assembled  to 
take  part  in  the  knightly  games. 

Here  any  number  of  feats  of  valor  were  performed 
before,  on  the  third  day.  Sir  Artegall  entered  the  lists. 


276  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

To  his  surprise,  however,  he  was  unhorsed  by  a  stranger 
knight,  Britomart,  who,  little  suspecting  her  opponent  was 
the  lover  she  sought,  bore  off  in  triumph  the  girdle  her 
prowess  had  won.  Then,  summoning  all  the  maidens 
present,  she  picked  out  the  false  Florimell  as  the  greatest 
beauty  and  handed  her  the  girdle.  But,  to  the  surprise  of 
all  present,  the  lady  could  not  keep  the  girdle  clasped  about 
her  waist,  and,  incensed  at  the  mocking  remarks  of  the  by- 
standers, finally  challenged  the  other  ladies  present  to  try  it 
on.  Thus  it  was  ascertained  that  none  could  wear  it  save 
Amoret,  evidently  the  only  perfectly  faithful  lady  present. 

Having  thus  disposed  of  her  prize,  Britomart  rode  off 
with  her  companion,  little  suspecting  she  was  turning  her 
back  on  the  very  man  she  was  seeking.  Meantime  Sir 
Scudamore,  encountering  Sir  Artegall  and  hearing  he  had 
been  defeated  by  the  knight  who  had  carried  off  Amoret, 
invited  him  to  accompany  him  and  seek  revenge.  They  two 
soon  met  Britomart,  now  riding  alone  through  the  forest, 
for,  while  she  was  asleep  one  day,  Amoret  had  strayed 
away  and  gotten  lost.  Spurring  forward  to  attack  the 
stranger.  Sir  Scudamore  was  unhorsed  at  the  first  touch  of 
her  spear,  and,  when  Sir  Artegall  rushed  forward  to  rescue 
him,  he  too  was  disarmed.  But,  in  the  midst  of  the  fight, 
Britomart 's  helmet  fell  off,  so  both  knights  perceived  they 
had  been  defeated  by  a  woman.  Humbly  kneeling  before 
her,  they  begged  her  pardon.  Sir  Scudamore  realizing  with 
joy  that,  as  his  wife  had  been  travelling  with  a  woman,  his 
mad  jealousy  was  without  cause ! 

To  justify  her  mistress,  the  nurse-squire  now  explained 
to  both  men  how  Britomart  had  seen  Sir  Artegall  in  the 
magic  mirror,  and  was  in  quest  of  him  because  fate  destined 
him  to  be  her  spouse.  Happy  at  securing  such  a  mate. 
Sir  Artegall  expressed  deep  joy,  while  Sir  Scudamore  clam- 
ored to  know  what  had  become  of  his  wife,  and  grieved  to 
learn  she  was  lost.  To  comfort  him,  however,  Britomart 
promised  to  help  him  recover  his  beloved,  before  she  would 
consent  to  marry.  Then  all  four  proceeded  to  a  neighbor- 
ing castle,  where  Sir  Artegall  was  solemnly  betrothed  to 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  277 

Britomart,  and  where  they  agreed  their  marriage  would 
take  place  as  soon  as  Amoret  was  found. 

Meantime  Timias,  squire  of  Prince  Arthur,  seeking  to 
4race  the  flying  damsel,  overtook  the  grim  forester,  with 
whom  he  had  a  terrible  encounter.  Sorely  wounded  in  this 
fight,  the  poor  squire  lay  in  the  forest  until  found  by  the 
nymph  Belphebe,  a  twin  sister  of  Amoret,  who,  in  pity  for 
his  sufferings,  bathed  his  wounds,  laid  healing  herbs  upon 
them,  and  did  all  she  could  to  save  his  life.  To  her  satis- 
faction, the  wounded  squire  soon  recovered  consciousness, 
so  she  conveyed  him  to  her  bower,  where  she  and  her 
nymphs  attended  him  until  his  wounds  were  entirely  healed. 
During  this  ilbiess  Timias  fell  deeply  in  love  with  Belphebe ; 
but,  deeming  himself  of  too  lowly  condition  to  declare 
his  passion  for  a  lady  of  high  degree,  he  sorely  pined. 
Thereupon  Belphebe  renewed  her  efforts  to  cure  him,  until 
he  was  strong  enough  to  accompany  her  into  the  forest. 
They  were  hunting  there  one  day  when  Timias  beheld  a 
damsel  fleeing  from  a  misshapen  monster,  whom  he  attacked, 
but  against  whom  he  could  not  prevail,  because  the  monster 
opposed  the  lady  as  a  shield  to  every  blow  which  Timias 
tried  to  deal  him.  It  was  only  by  a  feint,  therefore,  that 
Timias  made  the  monster  drop  the  lady,  and  he  would 
surely  have  been  slain  by  his  opponent,  had  not  his  com- 
panion rescued  him  by  a  timely  arrow.  A  moment  later 
Belphebe  was  horrified  to  see  Timias  madly  kissing  the  lady 
the  monster  had  dropped.  Without  waiting  to  ascertain 
why  he  was  doing  so,  the  angry  nymph  fled,  but,  had  she 
lingered,  she  woidd  have  discovered  that  Timias  was  kissing 
her  own  counterpart,  for  he  had  rescued  her  twin  sister 
Amoret,  who,  after  wandering  away  from  the  sleeping 
Britomart,  had  been  seized  by  the  monster  from  whose 
cave  she  had  just  managed  to  escape. 

Bewildered  to  see  Belphebe — ^whom  he  thought  he  was 
embracing — ^rush  away,  Timias  now  dropped  Amoret  to 
follow  his  charmer,  but,  owing  to  his  lack  of  familiarity 
with  the  forest  pathways,  he  soon  lost  his  way.    In  his  grief 


278  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

he  built  himself  a  hut  and  dwelt  in  the  forest,  vowing  not 
to  go  back  in  quest  of  Amoret,  lest  he  thereby  arouse  the 
jealousy  of  his  beloved.  But  to  beguile  his  sorrow  he  carved 
Belphebe's  name  on  every  tree,  and  was  kissing  these  marks 
when  Prince  Arthur,  seeing  him  thus  occupied,  fancied  he 
had  gone  mad ! 

Meantime  Timias  had  also  found  a  dove  which  had  lost 
its  mate,  and,  realizing  that  they  were  both  suffering  from 
similar  complaints,  bound  around  the  bird's  neck  a  ruby 
heart  Belphebe  had  given  him.  The  dove,  flying  back  to  its 
mistress,  enticed  her,  by  fluttering  a  few  paces  ahead  of  her, 
to  the  place  where  Timias  was  kissing  her  name  carved  upon 
a  tree.  Convinced  of  his  fidelity  by  such  a  proof  of  devotion, 
Belphebe  reinstated  Timias  in  her  favor,  and  once  more 
ranged  the  forest  with  him,  hunting  all  kinds  of  game,  until 
poor  Timias  was  wounded  by  the  Blatant  Beast, — Slander, — 
a  monster  from  whose  jaws  he  was  fortunately  rescued  by 
Prince  Arthur. 

After  a  partial  recovery,  Timias  rode  off  with  his  master, 
to  whom  he  confided  how  he  had  abandoned  Amoret  in  the 
forest,  and  from  whom  he  inquired  whether  any  further 
news  had  been  heard  about  her.  To  Timias*  satisfaction 
Arthur  assured  him  she  had  safely  rejoined  her  husband, 
who,  finding  her  wounded  in  the  forest,  had  carried  her 
off  to  a  castle  and  tenderly  nursed  her  back  to  health.  It 
was  only  after  witnessing  the  joyful  celebration  of  the  long- 
postponed  wedding  festivities  of  this  reunited  couple,  that 
Sir  Arthur  had  started  off  on  his  recent  quest  for  his  squire. 

Meantime  the  real  Florimell,  east  into  the  sea  by  the 
angry  fisherman  whose  vessel  she  had  entered  without  per- 
mission, was  conveyed  by  sea-nymphs  to  Proteus'  haU, 
where,  after  witnessing  the  nuptials  of  the  Thames  and 
Medway,  she  learned  that  her  lover,  MarineU,  was  recover- 
ing from  his  wound,  thanks  to  the  ministrations  of  his 
goddess  mother.  He  had,  however,  been  pining  for  her, 
and  recovered  perfect  health  and  happiness  only  when  they 
were  joined  in  wedlock. 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  279 

BOOK  V.      THE  LEGEND  OF  SIH  ARTEGALL, — JUSTICE 

Sir  Artegall,  the  noble  champion  of  justice,  or  lord 
deputy  of  Ireland,  sets  forth  at  Gloriana's  behest  to  defend 
Irena,  or  Ireland.  He  is  attended  by  Talus,  an  iron  man, 
whose  flail  is  supposed  to  thresh  out  falsehood.  They  two 
have  not  proceeded  very  far  before  they  come  across  a 
knight  bending  over  a  headless  lady.  On  inquiring  of  him, 
they  learn  that  a  passing  rufBan  not  only  carried  off  the 
knight's  mate,  but  left  in  her  stead  a  dame,  whom  he  be- 
headed, because  she  pursued  him. 

Provided  with  a  description  of  the  armor  and  accoutre- 
ments of  the  ruffian,  the  iron  page  sets  out  in  pursuit  of 
him,  and  stuns  him.  Then,  having  bound  him  fast,  he  leads 
him  and  his  captive  back  to  his  master  and  to  the  mourning 
knight.  There  the  ruffian.  Sir  Sanglier,  coldly  asserts  he 
has  nothing  to  do  with  the  headless  lady,  but  that  the  livipg 
one  belongs  to  him.  Finding  it  impossible  to  decide  which 
tells  the  truth.  Sir  Artegall  decrees  that  the  second  lady 
shall  be  beheaded  also,  but,  while  Sanglier  readily  agrees 
to  this  Solomon-like  judgment,  the  true  lover  vehemently 
pleads  for  the  lady's  life,  declaring  he  would  rather  know 
her  safe  than  be  proved  right.  Fully  satisfied  now  that  Sir 
Sanglier  is  at  fault.  Sir  Artegall  metes  out  justice  and 
continues  his  quest. 

Before  very  long  he  encounters  a  dwarf  who  announces 
that  Florimell's  wedding  will  take  place  three  days  hence, 
and  suggests  that,  before  appearing  there.  Sir  Artegall  de- 
feat a  Saracen  who  mounts  guard  over  a  neighboring  bridge, 
despoiling  all  those  who  pass,  for  the  benefit  of  his  daughter. 
Such  an  undertaking  suits  Sir  Artegall,  who  not  only  slays 
both  the  giant  and  his  daughter,  but  razes  their  castle  to 
the  ground.  Shortly  after,  on  approaching  the  sea-shore. 
Sir  Artegall  perceives  a  charlatan  provided  with  scales  in 
which  he  pretends  to  weigh  all  things  anew.  Thereupon  Sir 
Artegall,  by  weighing  such  intangible  things  as  truth  and 
falsehood,  right  and  wrong,  demonstrates  that  the  char- 


280  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

latan's  scales  are  false,  and,  after  convicting  him  of  trickery, 
drowns  him  in  the  sea. 

The  poet  now  ably  describes  the  wedding  of  Florimell 
and  Marinell  and  the  tournament  celebrated  in  their  honor, 
which  Sir  Artegall  attends,  wearing  Braggadoechio's  armor 
as  disguise.  He  helps  Marinell  win  the  prize  which  is  to 
be  bestowed  upon  Plorrmell,  but,  when  the  moment  comes 
to  award  it,  Braggadocchio  boldly  produces  a  false  Flori- 
mell, so  exactly  like  the  true  one  that  they  cannot  be  told 
apart.  Sir  Artegall,  however,  ruthlessly  exposes  the  trick, 
whereupon  the  false  Florimell  vanishes,  leaving  nothing  be- 
hind her  save  the  wrongfully  appropriated  girdle,  which 
reverts  at  last  to  its  legitimate  owner.  Seeing  this,  Brag- 
gadocchio is  about  to  sneak  away,  when  Sir  Guyon  suddenly 
steps  forward  demanding  the  return  of  his  stolen  steed. 
Although  Braggadocchio  boldly  asserts  the  steed  he  rides  is 
his  own,  Sir  Artegall  inquires  of  each  what  secret  tokens 
the  animal  bears,  and  thus  enables  Sir  Guyon  to  prove 
ownership. 

Sir  Artegall,  not  long  after  leaving  the  marriage  hall, 
journeys  to  the  sea-shore,  where  he  discovers  twin  brothers 
quarrelling  for  the  possession  of  two  girls,  one  of  whom  is 
perched  upon  a  huge  coffer.  Not  only  does  Artegall  cheek 
this  fight,  but,  on  inquiring  into  its  cause,  leams  how  the 
twin  brothers  were  awarded  neighboring  islands,  and  how 
the  storms  and  the  sea  have  carried  off  half  the  land  of  the 
one  only  to  add  it  to  the  possessions  of  the  other.  Thus, 
one  twin  has  become  richer  than  the  other,  and  the  heiress, 
who  had  promised  to  marry  the  poorer  brother,  has  trans- 
ferred her  affections  and  possessions  to  the  richer  twin.  On 
her  way  to  join  him,  however,  she  suffers  shipwreck  and 
arrives  at  his  island  penniless.  But  the  chest  containing 
her  treasures  is  in  due  time  washed  back  to  the  smaller 
island,  where,  meantime,  the  discarded  fiancee  of  the  richer 
brother  has  taken  refuge.  As  the  wealthy  twin  declared, 
when  the  land  was  mentioned,  that  "what  the  sea  brought 
he  had  a  right  to  keep,"  Sir  Artegall  decides  he  shall  now 
abide  by  his  own  words,  and  that,  since  the  sea  conveyed 
the  treasure-chest  to  his  brother,  he  has  no  further  claim 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  281 

upon  it.  Having  thus  settled  this  dispute,  Artegall  rides  on 
until  he  meets  a  troop  of  Amazons  about  to  hang  an  un- 
fortunate man.  At  his  bidding,  Talus  delivers  this  victim, 
— Sir  Turpine, — a  knight  who  came  hither  intending  to 
fight  the  Amazons.  Because  the  queen  of  these  warrior- 
women  has  slain  many  men,  Artegall  challenges  her  to  issue 
from  her  stronghold  and  fight  with  him. 

We  now  have  a  briUiant  description  of  Eadigonde's 
appearance  and  of  the  duel,  in  which,  blinding  him  by  her 
beauty,  she  manages  to  get  the  better  of  Artegall.  Having 
done  this,  she  triumphantly  bears  him  off  to  her  oastle,  after 
ordering  the  execution  of  Sir  Turpine  and  Talus,  who  con- 
trive to  escape.  But  Sir  Artegall,  being  a  prisoner,  is  re- 
duced to  slavery,  forced  to  assume  a  woman's  garb  and  to 
spin  beside  his  f eUow-eaptives,  for  the  Amazon  queen  wishes 
to  starve  and  humiliate  her  captives  into  submission  to  her 
will. 

Having  contrived  to  escape,  Talus  informs  Britomart 
that  her  lover  is  a  prisoner,  whereupon  she  sets  out  to 
rescue  him,  meeting  with  sundry  extraordinary  adventures 
by  the  way,  in  which  she  triumphs,  thanks  to  her  magic 
spear. 

While  spending  a  peaceful  night  in  the  Temple  of 
Isis,  Britomart  is  finally  favored  with  a  vision,  inspired  by 
which  she  challenges  Radigonde,  who  in  the  midst  of  the 
encounter  turns  to  flee.  But  Britomart  pursues  her  into 
her  stronghold,  whence  she  manages  to  rescue  Artegall  and, 
after  setting  him  free,  bids  him  continue  his  adventurous 
quest. 

Sir  Artegall  and  his  faithful  squire  soon  after  see 
a  maiden  flee  before  two  knights,  but,  before  they  can  over- 
take her,  they  notice  how  a  new-comer  slays  one  pursuer 
while  the  other  turns  back.  Urged  by  the  maiden,  Artegall 
kills  the  second  persecutor,  and  only  then  discovers  that  the 
knight  who  first  came  to  her  rescue  is  Arthur.  They  two, 
by  questioning  the  maid,  learn  she  is  a  servant  of  Mercilla 
(another  personification  of  Elizabeth),  and  that  her  mis- 
tress is  sorely  beset  by  the  Soldan,  to  whom  she  has  recently 
gone  to  carry  a  message.    On  her  return,  the  poor  maid  was 


282  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

pursued  by  two  Saracen  knights,  who  were  determined  to 
secure  her  as  a  prize.  Hearing  this,  ArtegaU  proposes  to 
assume  the  armor  of  one  of  the  dead  knights,  and  thus  dis- 
guised to  convey  the  maiden  back  to  the  Soldan's  court. 
Arthur  is  to  follow  under  pretence  of  ransoming  the  cap- 
tive, knowing  that  his  offer  will  be  refused  so  insolently 
that  he  will  have  an  excuse  to  challenge  the  Soldan.  All 
this  comes  true,  and  thanks  to  his  magic  shield  Arthur 
triumphs.  The  Soldan's  wife,  learning  that  her  husband 
has  succumbed,  now  proposes  to  take  her  revenge  by  slaying 
the  captive  maid,  but  ArtegaU  defends  her  and  drives  the 
Soldan's  wife  into  the  forest,  where  she  is  transformed  into 
a  tiger! 

Arthur  and  Sir  ArtegaU  now  gallantly  offer  to  escort 
the  maid  home,  although  she  warns  them  that  Guyle  lies  in 
wait  by  the  roadside,  armed  with  hooks  and  a  net  to  catch 
all  travellers  who  pass  his  cave.  But,  thanks  to  the  bravery, 
strength,  and  agility  of  Arthur,  ArtegaU,  and  Talus,  Guyle 's 
might  is  broken,  and  the  maid  triumphantly  leads  the  three 
victorious  champions  to  Mercilla's  castle.  After  passing 
through  its  magnificent  haUs,  they  are  ushered  by  Awe  and 
Order  into  the  presence  of  the  queen,  whose  transcendent 
beauty  and  surroundings  are  described  at  length.  While 
the  queen  is  seated  on  her  throne,  with  the  English  lion  at 
her  feet,  Duessa  (Mary  Queen  of  Scots)  is  brought  before 
her  and  is  proved  guilty  of  countless  crimes ;  but,  although 
she  evidently  deserves  death,  MerciUa,  too  merciful  to 
condemn  her,  sets  her  free. 

It  is  while  sojourning  at  MereUla's  elegant  court 
that  ArtegaU  and  Arthur  see  two  youths  appear  to  in- 
form the  queen  that  their  mother  Beige,  or  Belgium,  a 
widow  with  seventeen  sons,  has  been  deprived  of  twelve 
of  her  offspring  by  a  three-headed  monster,  Gereones  (the 
personification  of  Philip  the  Second  of  Spain,  the  ruler  of 
three  realms).  This  inonster  invariably" delivers  his  cap- 
tives into  the  hands  of  the  Inquisition,  by  which  they  are 
sorely  persecuted.  Hearing  this  report,  Arthur  steps  for- 
ward, offering  to  defend  the  widow  and  her  children. 
MerciUa  granting  his  request  without  demur,  Arthur  hur- 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  283 

ries  away,  only  to  find  that  Beige  has  been  driven  out  of 
her  last  stronghold  by  a  faithless  steward  (Alba).  But, 
thanks  to  Arthur's  efforts,  this  steward  is  summoned  forth, 
defeated  in  battle,  and  the  lady  reinstated  in  her  domain. 

Gereones  now  dauntlessly  attacks  Arthur,  whom  the  giant 
Beige  secretly  instructs  to  overthrow  an  idol  in  the  neigh- 
boring church,  as  that  will  enable  him  to  triumph  without 
difficulty.  While  Arthur  is  thus  rescuing  Beige,  Artegall' 
and  Talus  have  again  departed  to  free  Irena  from  her 
oppressor  Grantorto.  On  their  way  to  Ireland,  they  meet 
a  knight,  who  informs  them  Irena  is  doomed  to  perish 
unless  a  champion  defeats  Grantorto  in  duel.  Thereupon 
Artegall  swears  to  champion  Irena 's  cause,  but,  on  the 
way  to  keep  his  promise,  pauses  to  rescue  a  distressed 
knight  (Henry  IV.  of  Fragce),  to  whom  he  restores  his 
lady  FlourdeUs,  whom  Grantorto  is  also  trying  to  secure. 

ArtegaU,  the  champion,  reaching  the  sea-shore,  at  last 
finds  a  ship  ready  to  sail  for  Ireland,  where  he  lands, 
although  Grantorto  has  stationed  troops  along  the  shore 
to  prevent  his  doing  so.  These  soldiers  are  soon  scattered 
by  Talus'  flail,  and  Artegall,  landing,  forces  Grantorto  to 
bite  the  dust.  Having  thus  freed  Irena,  he  replaces  her 
on  her  throne  and  restores  order  in  her  dominions,  before 
Gloriana  summons  him  back  to  court. 

On  the  way  thither  Sir  Artegall  is  beset  by  the  hags 
Envy  and  Detraction,  who  are  so  angry  with  him  for 
freeing  Irena  lliaL  Lliey  not  only  attack  him  themselves, 
but  turn  loose  upon  him  the  Blatant  Beast  (Slander). 
Although  Talus  begs  to  annihilate  this  infamous  trio  with 
his  dreaded  flail,  Artegall  decrees  they  shall  live,  and,  heed- 
less of  their  threats  hurries  on  to  report  success  to  his 
beloved  mistress. 

BOOK  VI.   LEGEND  OP  SIR  CALIDOEE,  OB  OF  COURTESY 

girjQ^JidflEe,  who,  in  the  poem,  impersonatesjDourtesy 
(or  Sir  PhiliE,Sidney) ,  now  meets  Artegall,  declaring  the 
queen  has  despatched  him  to  track  and  slay  the  Blatant 


284  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Beast, — an  offspring  of  Cerberus  and  Chimera, — ^whose 
bite  inflicts  a  deadly  wound.  When  Artegall  reports  hav- 
ing recently  met  that  thousand-tongued  monster,  Calidore 
spurs  off,  and  soon  sees  a  squire  bound  to  a  tree.  Pausing 
to  free  this  captive,  he  learns  that  this  unfortunate  has 
been  illtreated  by  a  neighboring  villain,  who  exacts  the 
hair  of  every  woman  and  beard  of  every  man  passing  his 
castle,  because  his  lady-love  wishes  a  cloak  woven  of  female 
hair  and  adorned  with  a  fringe  of  beards.  It  was  because 
the  captive  had  vainly  tried  to  rescue  a  poor  lady  from  this 
tribute  that  he  had  been  bound  to  this  tree.  On  hearing 
this  report,  Sir  Calidore  decides  to  end  such  doings  for- 
ever, and  riding  up  to  the  castle  pounds  on  its  gates  until 
a  servant  opens  them  wide.  Forcing  his  way  into  the 
castle.  Sir  Calidore  slays  all  who  oppose  him,  and  thus 
reaches  the  villain,  with  whom  he  fights  until  he  compels 
hiTn  to  surrender  and  promise  never  to  exact  such  tribute 
again. 

Having  settled  this  affair  entirely  to  his  satisfaction, 
Sir  Calidore  rides  on  until  he  meets  a  youth  on  foot,  bravely 
fighting  a  knight  on  horseback,  while  a  lady  anxiously 
watches  the  outcome  of  the  fray.  Just  as  Calidore  rides 
up,  the  youth  strikes  down  his  opponent,  a  deed  of  violence 
justified  by  the  maiden,  who  explains  how  the  man  on 
horseback  was  illtreating  her  when  the  youth  came  to  her 
rescue.  Charmed  by  the  courage  displayed  by  an  unarmed 
man,  Sir  Calidore  proposes  to  take  the  youth  as  his  squire, 
and  learns  he  is  Tristram  of  Lyonnesse,  son  of  a  king,  and 
in  quest  of  adventures. 

Accompanied  by  this  squire,  who  now  wears  the  armor 
of  the  slain  knight,  Sir  Calidore  journeys  on,  until  he 
sees  a  knight  sorely  wounded  by  the  very  man  his  new 
squire  slew.  They  two  convey  this  wounded  man  to  a 
neighboring  castle,  thereby  earning  the  gratitude  of  his 
companion,  a  lady  mourning  over  his  unconscious  form. 

The  castle-owner,  father  of  the  distinguished  wounded 
man,  is  so  grateful  to  his  rescuers  that  he  receives  them 
with  kindness.    But  he  cannot  account  for  the  presence  of 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  285 

the  lady  who  explains  his  son  loved  her  and  often  met  her 
in  the  forest.  After  nursing  her  lover  until  he  is  out  of 
danger,  Priscilla  expresses  a  desire  to  return  home,  but  is 
at  a  loss  how  to  account  to  her  parents  for  her  prolonged 
absence.  Sir  Calidore,  who  volunteers  to  escort  her,  then 
suggests  that  he  bear  to  her  father  the  head  of  the  knight 
whom  Tristram  slew,  stating  this  villain  was  carrying  her 
off  when  he  rescued  her.  This  tale  so  completely  blinds 
Priscilla 's  father  that  he  joyfully  welcomes  his  daughter 
home,  expressing  great  gratitude  to  her  deliverers  ere  they 
pass  on. 

Calidore  and  his  squire  have  not  journeyed  far  before 
they  perceive  a  knight  and  his  lady  sporting  in  the  shade. 
So  joyful  and  innocent  do  they  seem  that  the  travellers 
gladly  join  them,  and,  while  the  men  converse  together, 
Lady  Serena  strays  out  into  a  neighboring  field  to  gather 
flowers.  While  she  is  thus  occupied  the  Blatant  Beast 
pounces  upon  her,  and  is  about  to  bear  her  away  when 
her  cries  startle  her  companions.  They  immediately  dart 
to  her  rescue.  Calidore,  arriving  first,  forces  the  animal 
to  drop  poor  Serena,  then,  knowing  her  husband  will 
attend  to  her,  continues  to  pursue  the  fleeing  monster. 

On  reaching  his  beloved  Serena,  Sir  Calespine  finds 
her  so  sorely  woimded  that  she  requires  immediate  care. 
Tenderly  placing  her  on  his  horse,  he  supports  her  fainting 
form  through  the  forest.  During  one  of  their  brief  halts, 
he  suddenly  sees  a  bear  carrying  an  infant,  so  rushes  after 
the  animal  to  rescue  the  child.  Only  after  a  prolonged  pur- 
suit does  he  achieve  his  purpose,  and,  not  knowing  how 
else  to  dispose  of  the  babe,  carries  it  to  a  neighboring 
castle,  where  the  lady  gladly  adopts  it,  because  she  and 
hei"  husband  have  vainly  awaited  an  heir.  Sir  Calespine 
now  discovers  he  is  unable  to  retrace  his  steps  to  his 
wounded  companion,  who  soon  after  is  found  by  a  gentle 
savage.  This  man  is  trying  to  take  her  to  some  place  of 
safety  when  overtaken  by  Arthur  and  Timias,  who,  seeing 
Serena  in  his  company,  fancy  she  is  his  captive.  She,  how- 
ever, hastens  to  assure  them  the  wild  man  is  more  than 


286  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

kind  and  relates  what  has  occiorred.  As  Serena  and  Timias 
have  both  been  poisoned  by  the  bites  of  the  Blatant  Beast, 
Arthur  takes  them  to  a  hermit,  who  undertakes  to  cure 
them,  but  finds  it  a  hopeless  task. 

The  learned  hermit's  healing  arts  having  all  proved 
vain,  he  finally  resorts  to  prayer  to  cure  his  guests,  who, 
when  healed,  decide  to  set  out  together  in  quest  of  Sir 
Calespine  and  Arthur.  The  latter  has  meantime  departed 
with  the  wild  man,  hoping  to  overtake  Sir  Turpine,  who 
escaped  from  Radigonde.  They  track  the  villain  to  his 
castle  and,  forcing  an  entrance,  fight  with  him,  sparing  his 
life  only  because  the  lady  of  the  castle  pleads  in  his  behalf. 

Sir  Turpine  now  succeeds  in  persuading  two  knights  to 
pursue  and  attack  Sir  Arthur,  but  this  hero  proves  too 
strong  to  be  overcome,  and,  after  disarming  both  assail- 
ants, demands  why  they  have  attacked  him.  When  they 
reveal  Turpine 's  treachery,  Arthur  regrets  having  spared 
his  opponent,  and  decides  that  having  overcome  him  once 
by  force  he  will  now  resort  to  strategy.  He,  therefore,  lies 
down,  pretending  to  be  asleep,  while  one  of  the  knights 
rides  back  to  report  his  death  to  Turpine.  This  plan  is 
duly  carried  out,  and  Sir  Turpine,  coming  to  gloat  upon 
his  fallen  foe,  is  seized  by  Arthur,  who  hangs  him  to  a 
neighboring  tree. 

Meantime  Serena  and  Timias  jog  along  until  they  meet 
a  lady  and  a  fool  (Disdainjad^^coni),  who  are  compelled 
by  Cupid  to  wander  through  the  world,  rescuing  as  many 
people  as  they  have  made  victims.  When  thC'  fool  attempts 
to  seize  Timias,  Serena,  terrified,  flees  shrieking  into  the 
forest. 

Before  long  Sir  Artegall  manages  to  overtake  his 
squire,  driven  by  Scorn  and  Disdain,  and  immediately 
frees  him.  Then,  hearing  what  penalty  Cupid  has  imposed 
upon  the  couple,  he  decides  they  are  sufficiently  punished 
for  the  wrong  they  have  done  and  lets  them  go. 

Meanwhile  Serena  has  wandered,  until,  utterly  ex- 
hausted, she  lies  down  to  rest.  While  sleeping  she  is  sur- 
rounded by  savages,  who  propose  to  sacrifice  her  to  their 


THE  FAERIE  QUEENE  287 

god.  They  are  on  the  point  of  slaying  Serena  when  Sir 
Calespine  comes  to  her  rescue,  unaware  at  the  moment  that 
the  lady  he  is  rescuing  from  their  cruel  hands  is  his  beloved 
wife. 

Still  pursuing  the  elusive  Blatant  Beast,  Sir  Cali- 
dore  comes  to  a  place  where  shepherds  are  holding  a  feast 
in  honor  of  Pastorella,  the  adopted  daughter  of  the  farmer 
Melibee,  and  beloved  of  young  Coridon,  a  neighboring  shep- 
herd. Coridon  fears  Sir  Calidore  will  prove  a  rival  for 
the  affections  of  Pastorella,  but  Calidore  disarms  his 
jealousy  by  his  perfect  courtesy,  which  in  time  wins  Pas- 
torella's  love. 

One  day  the  lonely  Sir  Calidore,  seeking  Pastorella, 
catches  a  glimpse  of  the  Graces  dancing  in  the  forest  to  the 
piping  of  Colin  Clout  (a  personification  of  Spenser) .  Shortly 
after,  Calidore  has  the  good  fortune  to  rescue  Pastorella 
from  a  tiger,  just  after  Coridon  has  deserted  her  through 
fear. 

To  reward  the  bravery  of  Calidore,  who  has  saved  her 
from  death,  Pastorella  lavishes  her  smiles  upon  him,  until 
a  brigand  raid  brings  ruin  and  sorrow  into  the  shepherd 
village,  for  the  marauders  not  only  carry  off  the  flocks, 
but  drag  Pastorella,  Coridon,  and  Melibee  off  to  their 
underground  retreat. 

In  that  hopeless  and  dark  abode  the  captain  of  the 
brigands  is  beginning  to  cast  lustful  glances  upon  Pastor- 
ella, when  merchants  arrive  to  purchase  their  captives  as 
slaves.  The  captain  refuses  to  part  with  Pastorella 
although  he  is  anxious  to  sell  Coridon  and  Melibee,  but  the 
merchants  insist  upon  having  the  maid,  and  seeing  they 
cannot  obtain  her  by  fair  means  resolve  to  employ  force. 
The  result  is  a  battle,  in  the  midst  of  which  Coridon  escapes, 
Melibee  and  the  brigand  captain  are  slain,  and  Pastorella 
faints  and  is  deemed  dead. 

Sir  Calidore,  who  has  been  absent  for  a  while,  comes 
back  to  find  the  shepherd  village  destroyed  and  Coridon 
wandering  disconsolate  among  its  ruins.  From  him  he 
learns  all  that  has  happened,  and,  going  in  quest  of  Pas- 


288  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

torella's  remains,  discovers  she  is  alive.  Then  he  manages 
ly  stratagem  not  only  to  rescue  her,  but  to  slay  merchants 
and  robbers  and  recover  the  stolen  flocks  and  also  much 
booty.  All  the  wealth  thus  obtained  is  bestowed  upon 
Coridon  to  indemnify  him  for  the  loss  of  Pastorella,  who 
accompanies  her  true  love  Calidore  during  the  rest  of 
his  journeys. 

Being  still  in  quest  of  the  ever  fleeing  Blatant  Beast, 
Calidore  conducts  PastoreUa  to  the  castle  of  Belgard,  whose 
master  and  mistress  are  passing  sad  because  they  lost  their 
only  child  in  infancy.  Wondering  how  such  a  loss  could 
have  befallen  them,  Calidore  learns  that  knight  and  lady, 
being  secretly  married,  entrusted  their  child  to  a  hand- 
maiden, ordering  her  to  provide  for  its  safety  in  some  way, 
as  it  was  impossible  they  should  acknowledge  its  existence 
then.  The  maid,  having  ascertained  that  the  babe  bore  on 
her  breast  a  certain  birth-mark,  basely  abandoned  her  in 
the  forest,  where  she  was  found  and  adopted  by  Melibee. 

It  is  during  Pastorella 's  sojourn  in  this  castle  that  the 
lady  discovers  on  her  breast  the  birth-mark,  which  proves 
she  is  her  long-lost  daughter.  While  Pastorella  is  thus 
happy  in  the  company  of  her  parents,  Calidore  overtakes 
the  Blatant  Beast,  and  leads  it  safely  muzzled  through 
admiring  throngs  to  Gloriana's  feet.  But,  strange  to  relate, 
this  able  queen  does  not  keep  the  monster  securely  chained, 
for  it  soon  breaks  bonds,  and  the  poet  closes  with  the  state- 
ment that  it  is  again  ranging  through  the  country,  this 
time  tearing  poems  to  pieces ! 

PARADISE  LOST 

Book  I.  After  intimating  he  intends  "no  middle  flight," 
but  proposes  to  ''justify  the  ways  of  God  to  man,"  Milton 
states  the  fall  was  due  to  the  serpent,  who,  in  revenge  for 
being  cast  out  of  heaven  with  his  hosts,  induced  the  mother 
of  mankind  to  sin.  He  adds  how,  hurled  from  the  ethereal 
sky  to  the  bottomless  pit,  Satan  lands  in  a  burning  lake  of 
asphalt.    There,  oppressed  by  the  sense  of  lost  happiness 


THE  &ERALDS  SUMMON  LUCIFER's  HOST  TO  A  COUNCIL  AT  PANDEMONIUM 
By  Gustave  Dore 


PARADISE  LOST  289 

and  lasting  pain,  he  casts  his  eyes  about  him,  and,  flames 
making  the  darkness  visible,  beholds  those  enveloped  in  his 
doom  suffering  the  same  dire  pangs.  Full  of  immortal  hate, 
unconquerable  will,  and  a  determination  never  to  submit 
or  yield,  Satan,  confident  his  companions  will  not  fail  him, 
and  enriched  by  past  experiences,  determines  to  continue 
disputing  the  mastery  of  heaven  from  the  Almighty. 

Beside  Satan,  on  the  burning  marl,  lies  Beelzebub,  his 
bold  compeer,  who  dreads  lest  the  Almighty  comes  after 
them  and  further  punish  them.  But  Satan,  rejoining  that 
"to  be  weak  is  miserable,  doing  or  suffering,"  urges  that 
they  try  and  pervert  God's  aims.  Then,  gazing  upward, 
he  perceives  God  has  recalled  his  avenging  hosts,  that  the 
rain  of  sulphur  has  ceased,  and  that  lightning  no  longer 
furrows  the  sky.  He,  therefore,  deems  this  a  fitting  oppor- 
tunity to  rise  from  the  burning  lake,  reconnoitre  their  new 
place  of  abode,  and  take  measures  to  redeem  their  losses. 

"  Seest  thou  yon  dreary  plain,  forlorn  and  wild. 
The  seat  of  desolation,  void  of  light, 
Save  what  the  glimmering  of  these  livid  flames 
Casts  pale  and  dreadful?     Thither  let  us  tend 
From  oS  the  tossing  of  these  fiery  waves, 
There  rest,  if  any  rest  can  harbor  there. 
And,  reassembling  our  afflicted  powers, 
Consult  how  we  may  henceforth  most  offend 
Our  enemy;  our  own  loss  how  repair; 
How  overcome  this  dire  calamity; 
What  reinforcement  we  may  gain  from  hope; 
If  not,  what  resolution  from  despair." 

Striding  through  parting  flames  to  a  neighboring  hill, 
Satan  gazes  around  him,  contrasting  the  mournful  gloom 
of  this  abode  with  the  refulgent  light  to  which  he  has  been 
accustomed,  and,  notwithstanding  the  bitter  contrast,  con- 
cluding, "it  is  better  to  reign  in  heU  than  serve  in  heaven," 
ere  he  bids  Beelzebub  call  the  fallen  angels. 

His  moon-like  shield  behind  him,  Beelzebub  summons 
the  legions  lying  on  the  asphalt  lake,  "thick  as  autumn 
leaves  that  strew  the  brooks  of  VaUombroso."  Like  guilty 
sentinels  caught  sleeping,  they  hastily  arise,  and,  numerous 
as  the  locusts  which  ravaged  Egypt,  flutter  around  the  cope 

19 


290  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

of  hell  before  alighting  at  their  master's  feet.  Among  them 
Milton  descries  various  idols,  later  to  be  worshipped  in 
Palestine,  Egypt,  and  Greece.  Then,  contrasting  the  down- 
cast appearance  of  this  host  with  its  brilliancy  in  heaven, 
he  goes  on  to  describe  how  they  saluted  Satan's  banner 
with  "a  shout  that  tore  hell's  conclave  and  beyond  frighted 
the  reign  of  Chaos  and  old  Night."  Next,  their  standards 
fluttering  in  the  breeze,  they  perform  their  wonted  evolu- 
tions, and  Satan,  seeiag  so  mighty  a  host  still  at  his  dis- 
posal, feels  his  heart  distend  with  pride. 

Although  he  realizes  these  spirits  have  forfeited  heaven 
to  follow  him,  he  experiences  merely  a  passing  remorse 
ere  he  declares  the  strife  they  waged  was  not  inglorious, 
and  that  although  once  defeated  they  may  yet  repossess 
their  native  seat.  He  suggests  that,  as  they  now  know  the 
exact  force  of  their  opponent  and  are  satisfied  they  cannot 
overcome  him  by  force,  they  damage  the  new  world  which 
the  Almighty  has  recently  created,  for  submission  is  un- 
thinkable weakness. 

To  make  their  new  quarters  habitable,  the  fallen  angels, 
under  Mammon's  direction,  mine  gold  from  the  neighboring 
hills  and  mould  it  into  bricks,  wherewith  they  erect  Pande- 
monium, "the  high  eapitol  of  Satan  and  his  peers."  This 
hall,  constructed  with  speed  and  ease,  is  brightly  illtiminated 
by  means  of  naphtha,  and,  after  Satan  and  his  staff  have 
entered,  the  other  fallen  angels  crowd  beneath  its  roof  in 
the  shape  of  pygmies,  and  "the  great  consult"  begius. 

Book  II.  On  a  throne  of  dazzling  splendor  sits  Satan, 
surrounded  by  his  peers.  Addressing  his  followers,  he  de- 
clares that,  having  forfeited  the  highest  position,  he  has 
lost  more  than  they,  and  that,  since  he  suffers  the  greatest 
pain,  none  will  envy  him  his  preeminence.  When  he  bids 
them  suggest  what  they  shall  do,  Moloch  votes  in  favor  of 
war,  stirring  up  his  companions  with  a  belligerent  speech. 
Belial,  who  is  versed  in  making  "the  worse  appear  the 
better  reason,"  urges  guile  instead  of  warfare,  for  they 
have  tested  the  power  of  the  Almighty  and  know  he  can 
easily  outwit  their  plans.     In  his  turn.  Mammon  favora 


PARADISE  LOST  291 

neither  force  nor  guile,  but  suggests  that,  since  riches 
abound  in  this  region,  they  content  themselves  with  piling 
up  treasures. 

All  having  been  heard,  the  fallen  angels  decide,  since 
it  is  impossible  again  to  face  Michael's  dreaded  sword,  they* 
will  adopt  Beelzebub's  suggestion  and  try  «m[  find  out 
whether  they  cannot  settle  more  comfortably  in  the  recently 
created  world.  This  decided,  Satan  inquires  who  will 
undertake  to  reconnoitre,  and,  as  no  one  volunteers,  de- 
clares that  the  mission  of  greatest  difficulty  and  danger 
rightly  belongs  to  him,  bidding  the  fallen  angels  mean- 
while keep  watch  lest  further  ill  befall  them.  This  decision 
is  so  enthusiastically  applauded  that  ever  since  an  over- 
whelming tumult  has  been  termed  "Pandemonium,"  like 
Satan's  hall. 

The  "consult"  ended,  the  angels  resume  their  wonted 
size  and  scatter  through  hell,  some  exploring  its  recesses, 
where  they  discover  huge  rivers,  regions  of  fire  and  ice, 
and  hideous  monsters,  while  others  beguile  their  time  by 
arguing  of  "foreknowledge,  will,  fate,"  and  discussing 
questions  of  philosophy,  or  join  in  antiphonal  songs. 

Meanwhile  Satan  has  set  out  on  his  dreadful  journey, 
wending  his  way  straight  to  the  gates  of  Hades,  before 
which  stand  two  formidable  shapes,  one  woman  down  to 
the  waist  and  thence  scaly  dragon,  while  the  other,  a  grim, 
skeleton-like  shape,  wears  a  royal  crown  and  brandishes  a 
spear.  Seeing  Satan  approach,  this  monster  threatens  him, 
whereupon  a  dire  fight  would  have  ensued,  had  not  the 
female  stepped  between  them,  declaring  she  is  Sin,  Satan's 
daughter,  and  that  in  an  incestuous  union  they  two 
produced  Death,  whom  even  they  cannot  subdue.  She  adds 
that  she  dares  not  unlock  the  gates,  but,  when  Satan  urges 
that  if  she  will  only  let  him  pass,  she  and  Death  will  be 
supplied  with  congenial  occupations  in  the  new  world,  she 
produces  a  key,  and,  "rolling  toward  the  gates  on  scaly 
folds,"  flings  wide  the  massive  doors  which  no  infernal 
power  can  ever  close  again.  Through  these  gaping  portals 
one  now  descries  Chaos,  where  hot  and  cold,  moist  and 


THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

dry  contend  for  mastery,  and  where  Satan  will  liave  to 
make  his  way  through  the  elements  in  confusion  to  reach 
the  place  whither  he  is  bound. 

The  poet  now  graphically  describes  how,  by  means  of 
his  wings  or  on  foot,  Satan  scrambles  up  high  battlements 
and  plunges  down  deep  abysses,  thus  gradually  working 
his  way  to  the  place  where  Chaos  and  Night  sit  enthroned, 
contemplating  the  world  "which  hangs  from  heaven  by  a 
golden  chain. ' '  Addressing  these  deities,  Satan  commiser- 
ates them  for  having  lost  Tartarus,  now  the  abode  of 
the  fallen  angels,  as  well  as  the  region  of  light  occupied 
by  the  new  world.  When  he  proposes  to  restore  to  them 
that  part  of  their  realm  by  frustrating  God's  plans,  they 
gladly  speed  him  toward  earth,  whither  "full  fraught 
with  mischievous  revenge  accursed  in  an  accursed  hour  he 
hies." 

Book  III.  After  a  pathetic  invocation  to  light,  the 
offspring  of  heaven,  whose  rays  will  never  shine  through 
his  darkness,  Milton  expresses  a  hope  that  like  other  bliad 
poets  and  seers  he  may  describe  all  the  more  clearly  what 
is  ever  before  his  intellectual  sight.  Then  he  relates  how 
the  Eternal  Father,  gazing  downward,  contemplates  hell, 
the  newly-created  world,  and  the  wide  cleft  between,  where 
he  descries  Satan  * '  hovering  in  the  dun  air  sublime. ' '  Sum- 
moning his  hosts,  the  Almighty  addresses  his  Only  Be- 
gotten Son, — ^whose  arrival  in  heaven  has  caused  Satan's 
rebellion, — and,  pointing  out  the  Adversary,  declares  he  is 
bent  on  revenge  which  will  redound  on  his  own  head. 
Then  God  adds  that,  although  the  angels  feU.  by  their  own 
suggestion,  and  are  hence  excluded  from  all  hope  of  re- 
demption, man  will  fall  deceived  by  Satan,  so  that,  although 
he  will  thus  incur  death,  he  will  not  forever  be  unf orgiven 
if  some  one  will  pay  the  penalty  of  his  sin.  Because  none 
of  the  angels  feel  holy  enough  to  make  so  great  a  sacrifice, 
there  is  "silence  in  heaven,"  until  the  Son  of  God,  "in 
whom  all  fulness  dwells  of  love  divine,"  seeing  man  will 
be  lost  unless  he  interferes,  declares  his  willingness  to  sur- 
render to  death  all  of  himself  that  can  die.    He  entreats. 


PARADISE  LOST  293 

however,  that  the  Father  will  not  leave  him  in  the  loath- 
some grave,  but  will  permit  his  soul  to  rise  victorious,  lead- 
ing to  heaven  those  ransomed  from  sin,  death,  and  hell 
through  his  devotion.  The  angels,  hearing  this  proposal, 
are  seized  with  admiration,  and  the  Father,  bending  a 
loving  glance  upon  the  Son,  accepts  his  sacrifice,  proclaim- 
ing he  shall  in  due  time  appear  on  earth  in  the  flesh  to 
take  the  place  of  our  first  father,  and  that,  just  "as  in 
Adam  all  were  lost,  so  in  him  all  shall  be  saved."  Then, 
further  to  recompense  his  Son  for  his  devotion,  God  prom- 
ises he  shall  reign  his  equal  for  ever  and  judge  mankind, 
ere  he  bids  the  heavenly  host  worship  their  new  master. 
Eemoving  their  crowns  of  amaranth  and  gold,  the  angels 
kneel  before  Christ  in  adoration,  and,  tuning  their  harps, 
sing  the  praises  of  Father  and  Son,  proclaiming  the  latter 
"Saviour  of  man." 

While  the  angels  are  thus  occupied,  Satan,  speeding 
through  Chaos,  passes  through  a  place  peopled  by  the 
idolatries,  superstitions,  and  vanities  of  the  world,  all  of 
which  are  to  be  punished  here  later  on.  Then,  past  the 
stairway  leading  up  to  heaven,  he  hurries  to  a  passage 
leading  down  to  earth,  toward  which  he  whirls  through 
space  like  a  timibler  pigeon,  landing  at  last  upon  the  sun. 
There,  in  the  guise  of  a  stripling  cherub,  Satan  teUs  the 
archangel  Uriel  that,  having  been  absent  at  the  time  of 
creation,  he  longs  to  behold  the  earth  so  as  to  glorify  God. 
Thereupon  Uriel  proudly  rejoins  he  witnessed  the  per- 
formance, and  describes  how  at  God's  voice  darkness  fled 
and  solids  converged  into  spheres,  which  began  to  roll 
around  their  appointed  orbits.  Then  he  points  out  to  Satan 
the  newly-created  earth,  whither  the  Evil  Spirit  eagerly 
speeds. 

Thus  said,  he  turned;  and  Satan,  bowing  low. 
As  to  superior  spirits  is  wont  in  heaven, 
Where  honor  due  and  reverence  none  neglects, 
Took  leave,  and  toward  the  coast  of  earth  beneath, 
Down  from  the  ecliptic,  sped  with  hoped  success, 
Throws  his  steep  flight  in  many  an  airy  wheel. 
Nor  stayed,  till  on  Niphates'  top  he  lights. 


294  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Book  IV.  Wishing  his  voice  were  loud  enough  to  warn 
our  first  parents  of  coming  woe  and  thus  forestall  the 
misfortunes  ready  to  pounce  upon  them,  the  poet  de- 
scribes how  Satan,  "with  hell  raging  in  his  heart,"  gazes 
from  the  hill,  upon  which  he  has  alighted,  into  Paradise. 
The  fact  that  he  is  outcast  both  from  heaven  and  earth 
fills  Satan  with  alternate  sorrow  and  fierce  wrath,  under 
impulse  of  which  emotions  his  face  becomes  fearfully  dis- 
torted. This  change  and  his  fierce  gestures  are  seen  by 
Uriel,  who  curiously  foUows  his  flight,  and  who  now  for 
the  first  time  suspects  he  may  have  escaped  from  hell. 

After  describing  the  wonders  of  Eden — which  far  sur- 
pass aU  fairy  tales, — Milton  relates  how  Satan,  springing 
lightly  over  the  dividing  waU,  lands  within  its  precincts, 
and  in  the  guise  of  a  cormorant  perches  upon  a  tree,  whence 
he  beholds  two  God-like  shapes  "in  naked  majesty  clad." 
One  of  these  is  Adam,  formed  for  contemplation  and  valor, 
the  other  Eve,  formed  for  softness  and  grace.  They  two 
sit  beneath  a  tree,  the  beasts  of  the  earth  playing  peace- 
fully around  them,  and  Satan,  watching  them,  wonders 
whether  they  are  destined  to  occupy  his  former  place  in 
heaven,  and  vows  he  will  ruin  their  present  happiness  and 
deliver  them  up  to  woe !  After  arguing  he  must  do  so  to 
secure  a  better  abode  for  himself  and  his  followers,  the 
fiend  transforms  himself  first  into  one  beast  and  then  into 
another,  and,  having  approached  the  pair  unnoticed,  listens 
to  their  conversation.  In  this  way  he  learns  Eve's  wonder 
on  first  opening  her  eyes  and  gazing  around  her  on  the 
flowers  and  trees,  her  amazement  at  her  own  reflection  in 
the  water,  and  her  following  a  voice  which  promised  to  lead 
her  to  her  counterpart,  who  would  make  her  mother  of 
the  human  race.  But,  the  figure  she  thus  foimd  proving 
less  attractive  than  the  one  she  had  just  seen  in  the  waters, 
she  was  about  to  retreat,  when  Adam  claimed  her  as  the 
other  half  of  his  being.  Since  then,  they  two  have  dwelt  in 
bliss  in  this  garden,  where  everything  is  at  their  disposal 
save  the  fruit  of  one  tree.  Thus  Satan  discovers  the  pro- 
hibition laid  upon  our  first  parents.    He  immediately  de- 


PARADISE  LOST  295 

cides  to  bring  about  their  ruin  by  inciting  them  to  scorn 
divine  commands,  assuring  them  that  the  knowledge  of 
good  and  evil  will  make  them  equal  to  God,  and  having 
discovered  this  method  of  compassing  his  purpose,  steals 
away  to  devise  means  to  reach  his  ends. 

Meantime,  near  the  eastern  gate  of  Paradise,  Gabriel, 
chief  of  the  angelic  host,  watches  the  joyful  evolutions  of 
the  guards  who  at  nightfall  are  to  patrol  the  boundaries  of 
Paradise.  While  thus  engaged,  Uriel  comes  glancing  down 
through  the  evening  air  on  a  sunbeam,  to  warn  him  that 
one  of  the  banished  crew  has  escaped,  and  was  seen  at 
noon  near  these  gates.  In  return  Gabriel  assures  Uriel  no 
creature  of  any  kind  passed  through  them,  and  that  if  an 
evil  spirit  overleapt  the  earthly  bounds  he  will  be  discov- 
ered before  morning,  no  matter  what  shape  he  has  assumed. 
While  Uriel  returns  to  his  post  in  the  sun,  gray  twilight 
steals  over  the  earth,  and  Michael,  having  appointed  bands 
of  angels  to  circle  Paradise  in  opposite  directions,  despatches 
two  of  his  lieutenants  to  search  for  the  hidden  foe. 

Our  first  parents,  after  uniting  in  prayer,  are  about  to 
retire,  when  Eve,  who  derives  all  her  information  from 
Adam,  asks  why  the  stars  shine  at  night,  when  they  are 
asleep  and  cannot  enjoy  them?  In  reply  Adam  states  that 
the  stars  gem  the  sky  to  prevent  darkness  from  resuming 
its  sway,  and  assures  his  wife  that  while  they  sleep  angels 
mount  guard,  for  he  has  often  heard  their  voices  at  mid- 
night. Then  the  pair  enter  the  bower  selected  for  their 
abode  by  the  sovereign  planter,  where  the  loveliest  flowers 
bloom  in  profusion,  and  where  no  bird,  beast,  insect,  or 
worm  dares  venture. 

In  the  course  of  their  search,  the  angels  Ithuiiel  and 
Zephon  reach  this  place  in  time  to  behold  a  toad  crouching 
by  the  ear  of  Eve,  trying  by  devilish  arts  to  reach  the 
organs  of  her  fancy.  Touched  by  Ithuriel's  spear, — ^whieh 
has  the  power  of  compelling  all  substances  to  assume  their 
real  form, — ^this  vile  creature  instantly  assumes  a  demon 
shape.  On  recognizing  a  fiend,  Ithuriel  demands  how  he 
escaped  and  why  he  is  here.    Whereupon  Satan  haughtily 


THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

rejoins  that  the  time  was  when  none  would  have  dared 
treat  him  so  unceremoniously,  nor  have  needed  to  ask  his 
name,  seeing  all  would  instantly  have  known  him.  It  is 
only  then  that  Zephon  recognizes  their  former  superior, 
Lucifer,  and  contemptuously  informs  him  his  glory  is  so 
dimmed  by  sin,  it  is  no  wonder  they  could  not  place  him. 
Both  angels  now  escort  their  captive  to  Gabriel,  who,  recog- 
nizing the  prisoner  from  afar,  also  comments  on  his  faded 
splendor.  Then,  addressing  Satan,  Gabriel  demands  why 
he  broke  his  prescribed  bonds?  Satan  defiantly  retorts 
that  prisoners  invariably  try  to  escape,  that  no  one  courts 
torture,  and  that,  if  God  meant  to  keep  the  fiends  forever 
in  durance  vilie,  he  should  have  barred  the  gates  more 
securely.  But,  even  by  escaping  from  Tartarus,  Satan  can- 
not evade  his  punishment,  and  Gabriel  warns  him  he  has 
probably  increased  his  penalty  sevenfold  by  his  disobedience. 
Then  he  tauntingly  inquires  whether  pain  is  less  intoler- 
able to  the  archfiend's  subordinates  than  to  himself,  and 
whether  he  has  already  deserted  his  followers.  Wrath- 
fully  Satan  boasts  that,  fiercest  in  battle,  he  alone  had 
courage  enough  to  undertake  this  journey,  to  ascertain 
whether  it  were  possible  to  secure  a  pleasanter  place  of 
abode.  Because  in  the  course  of  his  reply  he  contradicts 
himself,  the  angel  terms  him  a  liar  and  hypocrite,  and  bids 
him  depart,  vowing,  should  he  ever  be  found  lurking  near 
Paradise  again,  he  wiU  be  dragged  back  to  the  infernal  pit 
and  chained  fast  so  he  cannot  escape !  This  threat  arouses 
Satan's  scorn  and  makes  him  so  insolent,  that  the  angels, 
turning  fiery  red,  close  around  him,  threatening  him  with 
their  spears!  Glancing  upward  and  perceiving  by  the 
position  of  the  heavenly  scales  that  the  issue  of  a  combat 
would  not  be  in  his  favor,  Satan  wrathfuUy  flees  with  the 
vanisljing  shades  of  night. 

Booh  V.  Morning  having  dawned,  Adam  awakens  re- 
freshed, only  to  notice  the  flushed  cheeks  and  discom- 
posed tresses  of  his  companion,  from  whom,  when  he 
awakens  her,  he  learns  of  a  dream  wherein  a  voice  urged 
her  to  go  forth  and  walk  in  the  garden.     Eve  goes  on  to 


PARADISE  LOST  297 

describe  how,  gliding  beneath,  the  trees,  she  came  to  the 
one  bearing  the  forbidden  fruit,  and  descried  among  its 
branches  a  winged  shape,  which  bade  her  taste  of  the 
apples  and  not  despise  the  boon  of  knowledge.  Although 
chilled  with  horror  at  the  mere  suggestion.  Eve  admits  that 
she  yielded,  because  the  voice  assured  her  one  taste  would 
enable  her  to  flutter  through  the  air  like  the  angels  and 
perchance  visit  God !  Her  desire  to  enjoy  such  a  privilege 
became  so  intense  that  when  the  fruit  was  pressed  to  her 
lips  she  tasted  it,  and  had  no  sooner  done  so  than  she 
soared  upward,  only  to  sink  down  and  awaken  at  Adam's 
touch ! 

Comforting  his  distressed  consort,  Adam  leads  her  into 
the  garden  to  prime  over-luxuriant  branches  and  to  train 
vines  from  tree  to  tree.  While  they  are  thus  occupied,  the 
Almighty  summons  Eaphael,  and,  after  informing  him 
Satan  has  escaped  from  hell  and  has  found  his  way  to 
Paradise  to  disturb  the  felicity  of  man,  bids  the  archangel 
hasten  down  to  earth,  and,  conversing  "as  friend  with 
friend"  with  Adam,  warn  him  that  he  had  the  power  to 
retain  or  forfeit  his  happy  state,  and  caution  him  against 
the  wiles  of  the  fiend,  lest,  after  wilfully  transgressing, 
man  should  claim  he  had  not  been  forewarned. 

Past  choirs  of  angels,  through  the  golden  gate,  and  down 
the  mighty  stairs,  Raphael  flits,  reachiag  earth  in  the  shape 
of  a  six-winged  cherub,  whose  iridescent  plumes  seem  to 
have  been  dipped  in  heaven's  own  dyes.  On  beholding  this 
visitor,  Adam  bids  Eve  collect  her  choicest  fruit,  and, 
while  she  hastens  away  on  "hospitable  thoughts  intent," 
advances  to  meet  Raphael,  knowing  he  brings  some  divine 
message.  After  hailing  Eve  with  the  salutation  later  used 
for  Mary,  the  angel  proceeds  to  Adam's  lodge  and  shares 
his  meal,  admitting  that  the  angels  in  heaven  partake  of 
spiritual  food  only,  although  they  are  endowed  with  senses 
like  man. 

On  discovering  he  may  question  Raphael, — save  in  re- 
gard to  matters  which  are  to  be  withheld  for  a  while 
longer, — Adam  queries  about  things  which  have  troubled 


298  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

him.  Inferring  from  the  angel's  words  that  their  bliss  is 
not  secure,  he  learns  that  as  long  as  he  proves  obedient  his 
happiness  will  continue,  but  that,  having  been  created  as 
free  as  the  angels,  he  can  choose  his  lot.  When  Adam  asks 
in  regard  to  heavenly  things,  Raphael  wonders  how  he  can 
relate,  in  terms  intelligible  to  finite  mind,  things  which 
even  angels  fail  to  conceive  in  their  entirety  and  which  it 
may  not  be  lawful  to  reveal.  Still,  knowing  he  can  vouch- 
safe a  brief  outline  of  aU  that  has  hitherto  occurred,  Raphael 
describes  how  the  Almighty,  after  creating  the  Son,  bade 
the  angels  bow  down  and  worship  him.  He  states  that, 
during  the  night  following  this  event,  Lucifer,  angry  be- 
cause he  was  no  longer  second  in  heaven,  withdrew  to  that 
quarter  of  the  sky  entrusted  to  his  keeping,  and  there  sug- 
gested to  Beelzebub  rebellion  against  God,  who  required 
them  to  pay  servile  tribute  to  his  Son !  Arguing  that  they 
will  be  gradually  reduced  to  slavery,  Satan  induces  one- 
third  of  the  heavenly  hosts  to  rebel,  for  only  one  of  his 
followers,  Abdiel,  refuses  to  believe  his  specious  words. 
In  his  indignation,  Abdiel  bursts  forth  into  flame,  de- 
nounces Lucifer,  and  departs  to  report  to  the  Almighty 
what  he  has  heard.  He  alone  proves  faithful  among  the 
faithless,  so,  as  he  passes  out  from  among  them,  the  rebel 
angels,  resenting  his  attitude,  overwhelm  him  with  their 
scorn. 

From  amidst  them  forth  he  passed. 
Long  way  through  hostile  scorn,  which  he  sustained 
Superior,  nor  of  violence  feared  aught; 
And  with  retorted  scorn  his  back  he  turned 
On  those  proud  towers  to  swift  destruction  doomed. 

The  Almighty,  however,  does  not  require  Abdiel's  warn- 
ing, for  the  all-seeing  eye  has  already  descried  what  has 
occurred,  and  has  pointed  out  to  the  Son  how  Lucifer,  de- 
voured by  pride,  is  about  to  rise  up  against  them. 

Book  TI.  In  spite  of  the  speed  with  which  he  travels, 
Abdiel  requires  all  night  to  cross  the  distance  which  sepa- 
rates the  apostate  angels  from  the  heavenly  throne.  The 
news  he  bears  being  already  known  in  heaven,  the  ang 


PARADISE  LOST  299 

joyfully  -welcome  him  and  conduct  him  to  the  throne,  whence, 
from  a  golden  cloud,  issues  a  voice  proclaiming ' '  well  done. ' ' 
Next  God  bids  Michael  lead  forth  a  host  equal  in  number 
to  the  godless  crew  arraying  itself  in  battle  order  to  dis- 
pute from  the  Almighty  the  sovereignty  of  heaven.  The 
divine  orders  are  to  oppose  Lucifer  and  hurl  him  into  the 
gulf  of  Tartarus,  whose  fiery  mouth  will  open  wide  to  re- 
ceive him.  A  moment  later  trumpets  sound  in  heaven,  and 
the  angelic  legions  sally  forth  to  battle  for  God  and  for  his 
Messiah,  hymning  the  Eternal  Father.  The  evil  angels, 
whose  glory  has  not  yet  been  dimmed,  meet  this  host  in 
squadrons,  at  the  head  of  which  rides  Lucifer  (or  Satan 
as  he  is  generally  called  after  he  becomes  an  apostate), 
in  his  sun-bright  chariot.  On  beholding  him,  Abdiel  mar- 
vels because  he  still  retains  a  God-like  semblance,  and 
warns  him  he  will  soon  pay  the  penalty  of  his  folly.  In 
return  Satan  terms  Abdiel  a  common  deserter,  and  over- 
whelms him  with  scorn,  to  which  this  angel  pays  little 
heed,  realizing  that  by  serving  a  divine  master  he  is  freer 
than  independent  Satan. 

After  exchanging  Homeric  taunts,  these  two  begin  fight- 
ing, and  Abdiel 's  first  dart  causes  the  archenemy  to  recoil 
and  almost  sink  to  the  ground.  But,  when  the  divine  host 
clamor  that  Satan  is  overcome,  he  promptly  recovers  his 
footing,  and,  retreating  into  the  ranks  of  his  army,  directs 
their  resistance  to  the  foe.  The  battle  now  rages  with  such 
fury  that  the  heavens  resound.  Many  deeds  of  eternal 
fame  are  wrought,  for  Satan  proves  almost  equal  to  Michael, 
who  with  his  two-handed  sword  strikes  down  whole 
squadrons  at  one  blow.  But  wounds  inflicted  on  angels, 
even  when  fallen,  are  no  sooner  made  than  healed,  so  those 
who  sink  down  disabled  are  soon  back  in  the  thick  of  the 
fight  as  strong  as  ever.  The  moment  comes,  however,  when 
Michael's  sword  inflicts  so  deep  a  wound  in  Satan's  side 
that,  for  the  first  time,  he  experiences  pain.  Seeing  him 
fall,  his  adherents  bear  him  away  from  the  field  of  battle, 
where  he  is  immediately  healed,  "for  spirits,  that  live 
throughout  vital  in  every  part,    .    .    .    cannot  but  by 


300  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

annihilation  die. "  Thus  temporarily  deprived  of  his  great- 
est opponent,  Michael  attacks  Moloch,  while  Uriel,  Raphael, 
and  Abdiel  vanquish  other  potent  angels  who  have  dared 
to  rebel  against  God. 

After  describing  the  battle-field,  strewn  with  shattered 
armor  and  broken  chariots,  the  poet  pictures  the  dismay 
in  the  ranks  of  the  rebel  angels,  and  describes  how  Satan 
drew  away  his  troops  so  they  might  rest  and  be  ready  to 
renew  the  fray  on  the  morrow.  In  the  silence  of  that 
night,  he  also  consults  with  his  adherents  how  to  fight  to 
better  advantage  on  the  morrow,  insisting  that  they  now 
know  they  can  never  be  permanently  wounded.  The 
demons  feel  confident  that,  granted  .better  arms,  they  could 
secure  the  advantage,  so,  when  one  of  their  number  sug- 
gests the  manufacture  of  cannon,  all  gladly  welcome  the 
idea.  Under  Satan's  direction  some  of  the  evil  angels  draw 
from  the  ground  metal,  which,  molten  and  poured  into 
moulds,  furnishes  the  engines  of  destruction  they  are  seek- 
ing. Meanwhile  others  collect  ingredients  for  ammunition, 
and,  when  morning  dawns,  they  have  a  number  of  weapons 
ready  for  use,  which  they  cunningly  conceal  in  the  centre 
of  their  fourfold  phalanx  as  they  advance. 

In  the  midst  of  the  second  encounter,  Satan's  squadrons 
suddenly  draw  aside  to  let  these  cannons  belch  forth  the 
destruction  with  which  they  are  charged,  an  unexpected 
broadside  which  fells  the  good  angels  by  thousands;  but, 
although  hosts  of  them  are  thus  laid  low,  others  spring 
forward  to  take  their  place.  On  seeing  the  havoc  wrought 
by  their  guns,  Satan  and  his  host  openly  rejoice;  but  the 
good  angels,  perceiving  arms  are  useless  against  this  artil- 
lery, throw  them  away,  and,  picking  up  the  hills,  hurl  them 
at  their  opponents,  whom  they  bury  beneath  the  weight  of 
mountains.  In  fact,  had  not  the  Almighty  checked  this 
outburst  of  righteous  anger,  the  fiends  would  doubtless 
have  been  buried  so  deep  they  never  would  have  been  able 
to  reappear ! 

On  the  third  day  the  Almighty  proclaims  that,  as  both 
forces  are  equal  in  strength,  the  fighting  will  never  end 


PARADISE  LOST  301 

unless  he  interferes.  He  therefore  summons  his  only  be- 
gotten Son  to  wield  the  thunder-bolts,  his  exclusive 
weapon.  Ever  ready  to  do  his  Father's  will,  the  Son  ac- 
cepts, mounts  a  chariot  borne  by  four  cherubs,  and  sets 
forth,  attended  by  twenty  thousand  saints,  who  wish  to 
witness  his  triumph.  On  seeing  him  approach,  the  good 
angels  exult,  while  the  wicked  are  seized  with  terror, 
although  they  disdain  to  flee.  Bidding  the  angeUc  host 
watch  him  triumph  single-handed  over  the  foe,  the  Son  of 
God  changes  his  benignant  expression  into  one  of  wrath, 
and  hurls  his  thunder-bolts  to  such  purpose  that  the  rebels 
long  for  the  mountains  to  cover  them  as  on  the  previous 
day.  "With  these  divine  weapons  Christ  ruthlessly  drives' 
Satan  and  his  hosts  out  of  the  confines  of  heaven,  over  th6 
edge  of  the  abyss,  and  hurls  them  all  down  into  the  bottom- 
less pit,  sending  after  them  peal  after  peal  of  thunderi 
together  with  dazzling  flashes  of  lightning,  but  mercifully! 
withholding  his  deadly  bolts,  as  he  purposes  not  to  annihi-' 
late,  but  merely  to  drive  the  rebels  out  of  heaven.  Thus, 
with  a  din  and  clatter  which  the  poet  graphically  describes, 
Satan  and  his  host  fall  through  space  and  land  nine  days 
later  in  the  flery  lake ! 

After  pursuing  the  foe  far  enough  to  make  sure  they 
will  not  return,  the  Messiah  re-enters  heaven  in  triumph, 
greeted  by  saints  and  angels  with  hymns  of  praise.  This 
account  of  the  war  in  heaven  concluded,  Raphael  informs 
Adam  that  Satan,  leader  of  these  fallen  angels,  envying 
his  happy  state,  is  now  plotting  to  seduce  him  from  his 
allegiance  to  God,  and  thus  compel  him  to  share  his  eternal 
misery. 

"  But  listen  not  to  his  temptations ;  warn 
Thy  weaker;  let  it  profit  thee  to  have  heard 
By  terrible  example  the  reward 
Of  disobedience;  firm  they  might  have  stood. 
Yet  fell;   remember,  and  fear  to  transgress." 

Booh  VII.  At  Adam's  request  Raphael  next  explains 
how  the  earth  was  created,  saying  that,  as  Satan  had  se- 
duced one-third  of  heaven's  inhabitants,  God  decided  to 


302  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

create  a  new  race,  whence  angels  could  be  recruited  to 
repeople  his  realm.  In  terms  simple  enough  to  make  him- 
self understood,  Raphael  depicts  how  the  Son  of  God, 
passing  through  heaven's  gates  and  viewing  the  immeasur- 
able abyss,  decided  to  evolve  from  it  a  thing  of  beauty.  He 
adds  that  the  Creator  made  use  of  the  divine  compasses, 
"prepared  in  God's  eternal  store,"  to  circumiscribe  the 
universe,  thus  setting  its  bounds  at  equal  distance  from  its 
centre.  Then  his  spirit,  brooding  over  the  abyss,  permeated 
Chaos  with  vital  warmth,  until  its  various  components 
sought  their  appointed  places,  and  earth  "self-balanced  on 
her  centre  hung."  Next  the  light  evolved  from  the  deep 
began  to  travel  from  east  to  west,  and  "God  saw  that  it 
was  good." 

On  the  second  day  God  created  the  firmament,  on  the 
third  separated  water  from  dry  land,  and  on  the  fourth 
covered  the  earth  with  plants  and  trees,  each  bearing  seed 
to  propagate  its  kind.  Then  came  the  creation  of  the  sun, 
moon,  and  stars  to  rule  day  and  night  and  divide  light  from 
darkness,  and  on  the  fifth  day  the  creation  of  the  birds  and 
fishes,  whom  God  bade  multiply  until  they  filled  the  earth. 
Only  on  the  sixth  and  last  day,  did  God  call  intp  life  cattle 
and  creeping  things,  which  crawled  out  of  the  earth  full 
grown  and  perfect  limbed.  Then,  as  there  still  lacked  a 
creature  endowed  with  reason  to  rule  the  rest,  God  created 
man  in  his  own  image,  fashioning  him  from  clay  by  breath- 
ing life  into  his  nostrils.  After  thus  creating  Adam  and 
his  consort  Eve,  God  blessed  both,  bidding  them  be  fruit- 
ful, multiply  and  fill  the  earth,  and  hold  dominion  over 
every  living  thing  upon  it.  Having  placed  creatures  so 
richly  endowed  in  Paradise,  God  left  them  free  to  enjoy 
all  it  contained,  save  the  fruit  of  the  tree  of  knowledge 
of  good  and  evil,  in  regard  to  which  he  warned  them  "in 
the  day  thou  eatest  thereof,  thou  diest."  Then,  his  work 
finished,  the  Creator  returned  to  heaven,  where  he  and  the 
angels  spent  the  seventh  day  resting  from  their  work. 

Book  VIII.  Not  daring  to  intrude  upon  the  conversa- 
tion of  Adam  and  Raphael,  Eve  waits  at  a  distance,  know- 


PARADISE  LOST  303 

ing  her  husband  will  tell  her  all  she  need  learn.  Mean- 
while, further  to  satisfy  his  curiosity,  Adam  inquires  how 
the  sun  and  stars  move  so  quietly  in  their  orbit?  Eaphael 
rejoins  that,  although  the  heavens  are  the  book  of  God, 
wherein  man  can  read  his  wondrous  works,  it  is  difficult 
to  make  any  one  understand  the  distances  separating  the 
various  orbs.  To  give  Adam  a  slight  idea  of  them,  Eaphael 
declares  that  he — ^whose  motions  are  not  slow — set  out  from 
heaven  at  early  mom  and  arrived  at  Eden  only  at  midday. 
Then  he  describes  the  three  rotations  to  which  our  earth  is 
subject,  names  the  six  planets,  and  assures  Adam  God 
holds  them  all  in  his  hand  and  prescribes  their  paths  and 
speed. 

In  his  turn,  Adam  entertains  Eaphael  with  a  descrip- 
tion of  his  amazement  when  he  awoke  on  a  flowery  hiDside, 
to  see  the  sky,  the  woods,  and  the  streams;  his  gradual 
acquaintance  with  his  own  person  and  powers,  the  naming 
of  the  animals,  and  his  awe  when  the  divine  master  led  him 
into  Paradise  and  warned  him  not  to  touch  the  central 
tree.  After  describing  his  loneliness  on  discovering  that 
all  living  creatures  went  about  in  pairs,  Adam  adds  that, 
after  he  had  complained  to  the  Creator,  a  deep  sleep  fell 
upon  him,  during  which  a  rib  was  removed  from  his  side 
from  which  to  fashion  Eve.  Joined  by  the  Creator  him- 
self to  this  "bone  of  his  bone  and  flesh  of  his  flesh,"  Adam 
declares  since  then  they  have  enjoyed  nuptial  bliss,  and 
artlessly  inquires  whether  angels  marry  and  are  given  in 
marriage  too.  Whereupon  Eaphael  rejoins  that  in  heaven 
love  so  refines  the  thoughts  and  enlarges  the  heart  that 
none  save  spiritual  communion  is  necessary  to  secure  per- 
fect bliss.  Then,  seeing  the  sun  about  to  set,  the  angel 
takes  leave  of  Adam  and  wends  his  way  back  to  heaven, 
while  the  father  of  mankind  rejoins  his  waiting  wife. 

Book  IX.  The  poet  warns  us  there  will  be  no  more 
question  of  talk  between  man  and  angels,  as  his  song 
must  now  change  to  a  tragic  note,  because  vile  distrust  has 
entered  Paradise.  Then  he  describes  how  Satan,  driven 
away  from  Eden  by  Gabriel,  circles  around  the'  earth 


304  THE  BOOK  OP  THE  EPIC 

seven  days  aad  nights  without  rest,  and  at  the  end  of 
that  time  reenters  Paradise,  by  means  of  an  underground 
river  and  in  the  guise  of  a  mist.  Then,  perched  as  a  bird 
upon  the  tree  of  knowledge  of  good  and  evil,  Satan  decides 
to  approach  our  first  parents  in  the  guise  of  a  loathsome 
serpent  and  seek  his  revenge,  although  fully  aware  the  con- 
sequences wiU  recoil  upon  himself.  Next,  finding  a  ser- 
pent asleep,  Satan  enters  it,  and  meanders  along  the  paths 
of  Paradise,  hoping  to  find  if^dam  and  Eve  apart,  for  he 
deems  it  will  be  easier  to  work  his  ends  on  one  at  a  time. 
Morning  having  come,  Adam  and  Eve  awake,  and  after 
their  usual  song  of  praise  set  out  to  attend  the  garden.  But 
Eve  insists  that  as  long  as  thefy^  are  together  they  allow 
themselves  to  be  distracted  from  their  labors,  and  pro- 
poses that  they  work  independently  until  the  noon  hour 
brings  them  together  to  share  their  simple  repast.  Although 
reluctant  at  first  to  be  parted  from  his  beloved,  Adam, 
hearing  her  exclaim  he  does  not  trust  her,  yields  to  her 
pleading.  Thus,  the  serpent,  ranging  through  the  garden, 
perceives  Eve  alone  among  the  roses,  and  rejoices  to  think 
he  can  make  his  first  attempt  upon  what  he  rightly  deems 
the  weaker  vessel.  Although  not  without  compunction,  he 
wends  his  way  toward  her  and  startles  her  by  addressing 
her  in  a  human  voice.  When  she  inquires  how  it  happens 
a  beast  can  communicate  with  her,  the  serpent  rejoins  that, 
although  at  first  speechless  like  other  beasts,  he  no  sooner 
tasted  a  certain  fruit  than  he  was  gifted  with  greater 
knowledge  than  he  had  yet  enjoyed  and  endowed  with  the 
power  of  speech.  Deeming  the  fruit  of  such  a  tree  might 
have  equally  beneficial  effects  upon  her  and  make  her  more 
nearly  equal  to  her  consort,  Eve  longs  to  partake  of  it  too, 
and  readily  follows  her  guide  to  the  centre  of  the  garden. 
But,  when  the  serpent  points  out  the  forbidden  tree,  Eve 
prepares  to  withdraw,  until  the  tempter  assures  her  God's 
prohibition  was  not  intended  to  be  obeyed.  He  argues  that, 
although  he  has  tasted  the  fruit  he  continues  to  live  and 
has  obtained  new  faculties,  and  by  this  specious  reasoning 
induces  Eve  to  pluck  and  eat  the  fruit.    As  it  touches  her 


PARADISE  LOST  305 

lips,  nature  gives  "signs  of  woe,"  and  the  guilty  serpent 
slinks  back  into  the  thicket,  leaving  Eve  to  gorge  upon  the 
fruit,  whose  taste  affords  her  keener  delight  than  she  ever 
experienced  before.  In  laudatory  terms  she  now  promises 
to  care  for  the  tree,  and  then  wonders  whether  Adam  will 
perceive  any  difference  in  her,  and  whether  it  will  be  wise 
to  impart  to  him  the  happiness  she  has  tasted.  Although 
at  first  doubtful.  Eve,  fearing  lest  death  may  ensue  and 
Adam  replace  her  by  another^partaier,  determines  to  induce 
her  husband  to  share  this  food  too,  for  she  loves  Adam  too 
dearly  to  live  without  him. 

"Confinned  then  I  resolve, 
Adam  shall  share  with  me  in  bliss  or  woe: 
So  dear  I  love  him,  that  with  him  all  deaths 
I  could  endure,  without  him  live  no  life." 

This  decision  reached.  Eve  hastens  to  Adam,  and  vol- 
ubly explains  that  the  tree  is  not  what  God  depicted, 
for  the  serpent,  having  tasted  of  its  fruit,  has  been  endowed 
with  eloquence  so  persuasive  that  he  has  induced  her  to 
taste  it  too.  Horror-stricken,  Adam  wails  his  wife  is  lost; 
then  he  wonders  how  he  will  be  able  to  exist  without  her, 
and  is  amazed  to  think  she  should  have  yielded  to  the  very 
first  onslaught  of  their  foe.  But,  after  this  first  outburst 
of  grief,  he  vows  he  will  share  her  doom  and  die  with 
her.  Having  made  a  decision  so  flattering  to  Eve,  he 
accepts  the  fruit  which  she  tenders,  and  nature  again  shud- 
ders, for  Adam,  although  not  deceived,  yields  to  tempta- 
tion because  of  his  love  for  Eve.  No  sooner  have  both  fed 
upon  the  tree  than  its  effects  become  patent,  for  it  kindles 
within  them  the  never-before-experieneed  sense  of  lust.  The 
couple  therefore  emerge  on  the  morrow  from  their  bower, 
their  innocence  lost,  and  overwhelmed,  for  the  first  time 
in  their  lives,  by  a  crushing  sense  of  shame.  Good  and  evil 
being  equally  well  known  to  him,  Adam  reproaches  his 
wife,  wailing  that  never  more  shall  they  behold  the  face  of 
God,  and  suggests  that  they  weave  leaf-garments  to  hide 
their  nakedness.    So  the  first  couple  steal  iato  the  thicket 

20 


306  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

to  fashion  fig-leaf  girdles,  which  they  bind  about  them,  re- 
viling each  other  for  having  forfeited  their  former  happy 
estate. 

Book  X.  Meantime,  Eve's  fall  has  been  duly  reported  in 
heaven  by  the  angelio  guards,  whom  the  Almighty  reas- 
sures, saying  he  knew  the  Evil  Spirit  would  succeed  and 
man  would  fall.  Then  the  same  voice  decrees  that,  as  man 
has  transgressed,  his  sentence  shaU.  be  pronounced,  and  that 
the  one  best  fitted  for  such  a  task  is  the  Son,  man's  mediator. 
Ready  to  do  his  Father's  will  in  heaven  as  upon  earth,  the 
Son  departs,  promising  to  temper  justice  with  mercy,  so 
that  God's  goodness  will  be  made  manifest,  and  adding  that 
the  doom  of  the  absent  Satan  shall  also  be  pronounced. 

Escorted  to  the  gates  of  heaven  by  the  angelic  host,  the 
Redeemer  descends  alone  to  earth,  where  he  arrives  in  the 
garden  in  the  cool  of  the  evening.  At  his  summons  Adam 
and  Eve  emerge  from  their  hiding-place,  and,  when  Adam 
shamefacedly  claims  they  hid  because  they  were  naked,  his 
maker  demonstrates  how  his  very  words  convict  him  of 
guilt,  and  inquires  whether  they  have  eaten  of  the  for- 
bidden fruit.  Unable  to  deny  his  transgression,  Adam 
states  he  is  in  a  quandary,  for  he  must  either  accuse  him- 
self wrongfully  or  lay  the  guilt  upon  the  wife  whom  it 
is  his  duty  to  protect.  When  he  adds  that  the  woman  gave 
him  the  fruit  whereof  he  did  eat,  the  judge  sternly  demands 
whether  Adam  was  bound  to  obey  his  consort,  reminding 
him  that  woman  was  made  subject  to  man  and  declaring 
that  by  yielding  to  Eve's  persuasions  he  incurred  equal 
guilt.  Then,  turning  to  the  woman,  the  judge  demands 
what  she  had  done,  and  Eve,  abashed,  confesses  the  ser- 
pent beguiled  her  until  she  ate.  Having  thus  heard  both 
culprits,  the  judge  pronounces  sentence  upon  the  serpent 
in  veiled  terms,  for,  as  yet,  man  is  not  to  understand  what 
is  divinely  planned.  Then,  having  disposed  of  the  arch- 
enemy, he  predicts  Eve  will  bring  forth  her  children  in 
suffering  and  will  be  subject  to  her  husband's  will,  ere  he 
informs  Adam  that  henceforth  he  will  have  to  earn  his 
bread  by  the  sweat  of  his  brow,  for  the  earth  will  no  longer 


PAEADISE  LOST  307 

bear  fruit  for  Mm  without  labor.  Having  thus  pronounced 
his  judgment,  the  judge  postpones  the  penalty  of  death 
indefinitely,  and  taking  pity  upon  our  first  parents,  clothes 
them  in  the  skins  of  beasts,  to  enable  them  to  bear  the 
harsher  air  to  which  they  are  soon  to  be  exposed. 

Meantime  Sin  and  Death  peer  forth  through  hell 's  open 
gateway,  hoping  to  catch  some  glimpse  of  returning  Satan. 
Weary  of  waiting.  Sin  finally  suggests  to  Death  the  folly 
of  remaining  idle,  since  Satan  cannot  fail  to  succeed,  and 
proposes  that  they  foUow  him  over  the  abyss,  building  as 
they  go  a  road  to  facilitate  intercourse  hereafter  between 
hell  and  earth.  This  proposal  charms  Death,  whose  keen 
nostrils  already  descry  the  smell  of  mortal  change,  and 
who  longs  to  reach  earth  and  prey  upon  aU  living  creatures. 
These  two  terrible  shapes,  therefore,  venture  out  through 
the  waste,  and  by  making  "the  hard  soft  and  the  soft 
hard,"  they  fashion  of  stone  and  asphalt  a  broad  highway 
from  the  gates  of  hell  to  the  confines  of  the  newly  created 
world. 

They  have  barely  finished  this  causeway  when  Satan — 
still  in  the  likeness  of  an  angel — comes  flying  toward  them, 
for  after  seducing  Eve  he  has  lurked  in  the  garden  until 
from  a  safe  hiding-place  he  heard  the  threefold  sentence 
pronounced  by  the  judge.  He  too  does  not  grasp  his  doom, 
but,  realizing  that  humanity  is  in  his  power,  is  hastening 
back  to  Hades  to  make  the  joyful  fact  known.  On  en- 
countering Sin  and  Death,  Satan  congratulates  them  upon 
their  engineering  skill  and  sends  them  on  to  work  their 
will  in  the  world,  while  he  speeds  along  the  path  they  have 
made  to  tell  the  fallen  angels  all  that  has  occurred.  In 
obedience  to  his  orders  a  number  of  these  are  mounting 
guard,  but  Satan,  in  the  guise  of  a  ministering  spirit,  passes 
through  their  midst  unheeded,  and  only  after  entering 
Pandemonium  allows  his  native  majesty  to  shine  forth. 
On  becoming  aware  he  is  once  more  present,  the  demons 
welcome  him  with  a  mighty  shout.  Then  by  an  impressive 
gesture  Satan  imposes  silence  and  describes  his  journey, 
his  success,  and  the  ease  with  which  they  can  pass  to  and 


308  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

fro  now  that  Sin  and  Death  have  paved  their  way.  To 
satisfy  their  curiosity  he  further  depicts  by  what  means 
he  tempted  woman,  and,  although  he  admits  he  was  cursed 
as  well  as  the  fallen,  does  not  appear  dismayed.  Raising 
their  voices  to  applaud  him,  his  adherents  are  now  surprised 
to  hear  themselves  hiss,  and  to  discover  they  have  aU  Been 
transformed  into  snakes.  Then  Satan  himself,  in  the  form  of 
a  dragon,  guides  them  to  a  grove  near  by,  where  they  climb 
the  trees  and  greedily  feed  on  apples  of  Sodom,  which 
offend  their  taste,  a  performance  to  be  renewed  yearly  on 
the  anniversary  of  the  temptation. 

Meanwhile,  Sin  and  Death  having  entered  Paradise, — 
where  they  are  not  yet  allowed  to  touch  hinnan  beings, — ^lay 
low  herbs,  fruit,  flowers,  and  beasts,  all  of  which  are  now 
their  legitimate  prey.  Pointing  out  their  ravages,  the 
Almighty  explains  that,  had  man  not  disobeyed,  these  de- 
spoilers  would  never  have  preyed  upon  the  newly  created 
world,  where  they  are  now  to  have  full  sway  until  the  Son 
hurls  them  back  into  Hades.  On  hearing  these  words,  the 
angels  praise  the  ways  of  the  Almighty,  which  are  ever  just, 
and  laud  his  Son  as  the  destined  restorer  of  mankind.  While 
they  are  thus  employed,  the  Almighty  directs  some  of  his 
attendants  to  move  the  sun,  so  as  to  subject  the  earth  to 
alternate  cold  and  heat,  thus  making  winter  follow  summer. 
The  planets,  too,  are  to  shed  malignant  influences  upon 
the  earth,  whose  axle  is  slightly  turned,  while  violent  winds 
cause  devastation,  and  enmity  is  kindled  between  creatures 
which  have  hitherto  lived  in  peace.  Adam,  on  perceiving 
these  changes,  becomes  conscious  they  are  the  effect  of 
his  transgression,  and  is  plunged  in  such  grief  that  God's 
order  to  increase  and  multiply  seems  horrible.  In  his  grief 
he  murmurs  aloud,  but,  after  a  while,  realizing  he  was 
left  free  to  choose  between  good  and  evil,  he  acknowledges 
his  punishment  is  just.  The  fact  that  God  does  not  imme- 
diately viat  upon  biTn  the  penalty  he  has  incurred  does  not, 
however,  comfort  him,  because  he  longs  for  death  to  end 
his  sorrows.  On  seeing  her  husband's  grief,  Eve  now 
volunteers  to  go  in  quest  of  their  judge,  imploring  him  to 


PARADISE  LOST  309 

visit  upon  her  alone  the  penalty  of  sin.  Her  readiness  to 
sacrifice  herself  touches  Adam,  who  replies  that,  since  they 
are  one,  they  must  share  what  awaits  them.  When  Eve 
intimates  that,  since  they  are  doomed,  it  will  be  well  never 
to  bear  any  children,  Adam  reminds  her  it  is  only  through 
repentance  they  can  appease  their  judge,  and  bids  her  not 
scorn  life  or  its  pleasures. 

Booh  XI.  Having  reached  this  state  of  humility  and 
repentance,  our  first  parents  are  viewed  compassionately 
by  the  Redeemer,  who,  gathering  up  their  prayers,  presents 
them  to  the  Father  as  the  first-fruits  which  have  sprung 
from  his  mercy. 

"  See,  Father,  what  first-fruits  on  earth  are  sprung 
From  thy  implanted  grace  in  man;  these  sighs 
And  prayers,  which  in  this  golden  censer,  mixed 
With  incense,  I  thy  priest  before  thee  bring, 
Fruits  of  more  pleasing  savor,  from  thy  seed 
Sown  with  contrition  in  his  heart,  than  those 
Which  his  own  hand,  manuring  all  the  trees 
Of  Paradise,  could  have  produced,  ere  fallen 
From  innocence." 

In  reply  to  the  touching  pleas  of  this  advocate,  the 
heavenly  Father  promises  the  culprits  shall  be  forgiven, 
provided  their  repentance  is  sincere,  but  insists  that  mean- 
time they  be  ejected  from  Paradise.  Michael  and  the 
cherubs  chosen  for  this  office  are  instructed  to  mount  guard 
day  and  night,  lest  the  fiend  return  to  Paradise,  or  the 
human  pair  re-enter  and  partake  of  the  tree  of  life  and 
thus  escape  the  penalty  of  death.  But,  before  driving  out 
our  first  parents,  Michael  is  to  reveal  to  Adam  all  that 
awaits  his  race  in  the  future,  emphasizing  the  promise  that 
salvation  shall  come  through  his  seed.  These  orders  re- 
ceived, the  archangel  wends  his  way  down  to  earth,  where, 
dawn  having  appeared,  Adam  and  Eve  once  more  issue 
from  their  bower. 

Night  has  brought  some  comfort,  and  Adam  exclaims 
that,  since  the  penalty  of  death  is  to  be  postponed,  they 
must  show  their  penitence  by  laboring  hard,  working  hence- 


310  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

forth  side  by  side  as  contentedly  as  their  fallen  state  will 
allow.  On  the  way  to  the  scene  of  their  wonted  labors, 
they  notice  an  eagle  pursuing  another  bird  and  see  wild 
beasts  hunting  one  another.  Besides  these  ominous  signs, 
Adam,  descrying  a  bright  light  travelling  rapidly  toward 
them,  informs  Eve  some  message  is  on  its  way.  He  is  not 
mistaJken,  for  Michael  soon  emerges  from  this  cloud  of  light, 
so,  while  Eve  hurries  off  to  prepare  for  his  entertainment, 
Adam  steps  forward  to  receive  him. 

Clad  in  celestial  panoply,  the  angel  announces  he  has 
been  sent  to  inform  Adam  that  although  the  penalty  of 
death  is  indefinitely  postponed,  he  is  no  longer  to  inhabit 
Paradise,  but  is  to  go  forth  into  the  world  and  till  the 
ground  from  whence  he  sprang.  Horror-stricken  at  these 
tidings,  Adam  remains  mute,  and  Eve,  hearing  the  decree 
from  a  distance,  wails  aloud  at  the  thought  of  leaving  home. 
To  comfort  her,  the  angel  bids  her  dry  her  tears  and 
follow  her  husband,  making  her  home  wherever  he  abides. 
Then  Adam  wonders  whether  by  incessant  prayer  and 
penitence  the  Almighty  could  be  induced  to  alter  his  de- 
cree and  let  them  remain  in  Paradise,  saying  he  hoped  to 
point  out  to  his  descendants  the  places  where  he  met  and 
conversed  with  his  Maker.  But  Michael  rejoining  he  will 
find  God  everywhere  invites  Adam  to  foUow  him  to  the 
top  of  a  neighboring  hill,  explaining  he  has  enveloped 
Eve  in  slumbers,  which  will  hold  her  entranced  while  he 
reveals  to  Adam  the  earth's  kingdoms  and  their  glory. 

"Know  I  am  sent 
To  show  thee  what  shall  come  in  future  days 
To  thee  and  to  thy  offspring ;  good  with  bad 
Expect  to  hear,  supernal  grace  contending 
With  sinfulness  of  men;  thereby  to  learn 
True  patience,  and  to  teTnper  joy  with  fear, 
And  pious  sorrow,  equally  inured 
By  moderation  either  state  to  bear, 
Prosperous  or  adverse:   so  shalt  thou  lead 
Safest  thy  life,  and  best  prepared  endure 
Thy  mortal  passage  when  it  comes.     Ascend 
This  hill;  let  Eve  (for  I  have  drenched  her  eyes) 
Here  sleep  below,  while  thou  to  foresight  wakest. 
As  once  thou  slept'st,  while  she  to  life  was  formed." 


PARADISE  LOST  311 

From  a  hill  in  Paradise, — after  purging  Adam's  eyes 
with  three  drops  of  water  from  the  well  of  life,— Michael 
vouchsafes  him  a  glimpse  of  all  that  is  to  take  place  upon 
our  earth.  Thus,  Cain  and  Abel  first  pass  before  their 
father's  eyes,  but  death  is  so  unintelligible  to  Adam  that 
the  angel  has  to  explain  what  it  means.  Overwhelmed  at 
the  thought  that  so  awful  a  thing  has  come  into  the  world 
through  his  transgression,  Adam  is  further  horrified  when 
the  angel  reveals  all  the  suffering  which  will  visit  mankind, 
explaining  that,  since  much  of  it  will  be  due  to  evil  living, 
it  behooves  Adam  to  observe  temperance  in  food  and  drink. 
But  he  warns  him  that,  in  spite  of  all  precautions,  old 
age  will  come  upon  him  as  a  precursor  of  death.  In  a 
panorama  Adam  sees  all  that  is  to  occur  until  the  Deluge, 
and,  watching  Noah  construct  the  ark,  wails  because  his 
progeny  is  to  be  destroyed  by  the  flood.  The  angel,  how- 
ever, demonstrates  that  the  righteous  will  be  saved  and 
that  from  them  will  descend  a  race  more  willing  to  obey 
God's  commands.  The  dove  and  the  rainbow,  therefore, 
instil  comfort  into  Adam's  heart,  as  does  God's  promise 
that  day  and  night,  seedtime  and  harvest  shall  hold  their 
course  until  new  heavens  and  earth  appear  wherein  the 
just  shall  dwell. 

Booh  XII.  Having  depicted  a  world  destroyed  and 
foreshadowed  a  world  restored,  the  angel  shows  Adam  how 
man  will  migrate  to  a  plain,  where  by  means  of  bricks  and 
bitumen  an  attempt  will  be  made  to  erect  a  tower  to  reach 
heaven.  When  Adam  expresses  displeasure  that  one  of 
ids  race  should  defy  God,  Michael  assures  him  he  rightly 
abhors  disobedience,  and  comforts  him  by  revealing  how 
one  righteous  man,  in  whose  "seed  all  nations  shall  be 
blest,"  is  to  be  brought  out  of  that  country  into  the  Prom- 
ised Land. 

Not  only  does  the  angel  name  Abraham,  but  depicts  his 
life,  the  captivity  in  Egypt,  the  exodus,  and  the  forty  years 
in  the  desert.  He  also  vouchsafes  to  Adam  a  glimpse  of 
Moses  on  Mount  Sinai  receiving  the  tables  of  the  law,  and 
appointing  the  worship  which  the  Chosen  People  are  to 


312  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

offer  to  their  Creator.  When  Adam  wonders  at  the  number 
of  laws,  Michael  rejoins  that  sin  has  many  faces,  and  that, 
until  blood  more  precious  than  that  of  the  prescribed  sacri- 
fices has  been  shed,  no  suitable  atonement  can  be  made. 

After  describing  how  under  the  Judges  and  then  under 
the  Kings  the  people  of  Israel  will  continue  their  career, 
the  angel  designates  Da^id  as  the  ancestor  of  the  Messiah, 
whose  coming  will  be  heralded  by  a  star  which  will  serve 
as  guide  to  eastern  sages.  He  adds  that  this  Messiah  will 
descend  from  the  Most  High  by  a  virgin  mother,  that  his 
reign  will  extend  over  all  the  earth,  and  that,  by  bruising 
the  serpent's  head,  he  will  conquer  Sin  and  Death.  This 
promise  fills  Adam's  heart  with  joy,  because  it  partly  ex- 
plains the  mysterious  prophecy,  but,  when  he  inquires  how 
the  serpent  can  wound  such  a  victor's  heel,  Michael  re- 
joins that,  in  order  to  overcome  Satan,  the  Messiah  will 
incur  the  penalty  of  death,  revealing  how,  after  living 
hated  and  blasphemed,  he  will  prove  by  his  death  and 
resurrection  that  Sin  and  Death  have  no  lasting  power  over 
those  who  believe  in  his  name.  FuU  of  joy  at  the  promise 
that  the  Messiah  will  lead  all  ransomed  souls  to  a  happier 
Paradise  than  the  one  he  has  forfeited,  Adam  declares  since 
such  good  is  to  proceed  from  the  evil  he  has  done  he  doubts 
whether  he  should  repent. 

Between  the  death  of  Christ  and  his  second  coming,  the 
angel  adds  that  the  Comforter  will  dwell  upon  earth  with 
those  who  love  their  Eedeemer,  helping  them  resist  the 
onslaughts  of  Satan,  and  that  in  spite  of  temptation  many 
righteous  wiU  ultimately  reach  heaven,  to  take  the  place  of 
the  outcast  angels. 

"Till  the  day 
Appear  of  respiration  to  the  just, 
And  vengeance  to  the  wicked,  at  return 
Of  him  so  lately  promised  to  thy  aid. 
The  woman's  Seed,  ohscurely  then  foretold, 
Now  amplier  known  thy  Saviour  and  thy  Lord, 
Last  in  the  clouds  from  heaven  to  be  revealed 
In  glory  of  the  Father,  to  dissolve 


PARADISE  REGAINED  313 

Satan  with  his  perverted  world,  then  raise 
From  the  conflagrant  mass,  purged  and  refined, 
New  heavens,  new  earth,  ages  of  endless  date 
Founded  in  righteousness  and  peace  and  love. 
To  bring  forth  fruits,  joy,  and  eternal  hliss." 

These  instructions  finished,  the  angel  bids  Adam  not 
seek  to  know  any  more,  enjoining  upon  him  to  add  deeds 
to  knowledge,  to  cultivate  patience,  temperance,  and  love, 
promising,  if  he  obeys,  that  Paradise  will  reign  in  his  heart. 
Then,  pointing  out  that  the  guards  placed  around  Eden 
are  waving  their  flashing  swords  and  that  it  is  time  to 
awaken  Eve,  he  bids  Adam  gradually  impart  to  her  all  that 
he  has  learned  through  angelic  revelations.  When  they 
rejoin  Eve,  she  explains  how  God  sent  her  a  dream  which 
has  soothed  her  heart  and  filled  it  with  hope,  making  her 
realize  that,  although  she  has  sinned  and  is  unworthy, 
through  her  seed  all  shall  be  blessed. 

Then  the  angel  takes  Adam  and  Eve  by  the  hand  and 
leads  them  out  by  the  eastern  gate  into  the  world.  Gaziag 
backward,  our  first  parents  catch  their  last  glimpse  of 
Paradise  and  behold  at  the  gate  the  angel  with  a  flaming 
sword.  Thus,  hand  in  hand,  dropping  natural  tears,  they 
pass  out  into  the  world  to  select  their  place  of  rest,  having 
Providence  only  for  their  guide. 

PARADISE  REGAINED 

Having  sung  of  Paradise  Lost,  Milton  proposes  as 
theme  for  a  new  epic  "Paradise  R^ained."  In  it  he 
purports  to  sing  of  "deeds  heroic  although  in  secret  done" 
and  to  describe  how  Christ  was  led  into  the  wilderness  to 
be  tempted  by  Satan. 

Booh  I.  While  baptizing  in  the  Jordan,  John  suddenly 
beheld  Christ  approaching,  and,  although  he  at  first  de- 
murred, yielded  at  last  to  his  request  to  baptize  him  too. 
While  the  Baptist  was  doing  this,  a  heavenly  voice  pro- 
claimed Christ  Son  of  God.  This  was  heard  not  only  by 
John  and  his  disciples,  but  also  by  the  adversary,  who, 


314  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

ever  since  the  fall,  had  been  roaming  around  the  world,  and 
who  for  years  past  has  been  closely  watching  the  promised 
Redeemer  in  hopes  of  defeating  his  ends. 

Suddenly  realizing  that  the  conflict  between  them  is 
about  to  begin,  Satan  hastens  back  to  Hades  to  take  counsel 
with  his  crew.  When  all  are  assembled,  he  reminds  them 
how  long  they  have  ruled  the  earth,  adding  that  the  time 
has  come  when  their  power  may  be  wrested  from  them, 
and  the  curse  spoken  in  Eden  fulfilled.  He  fears  Jesus  is 
the  promised  Messiah,  owing  to  his  miraculous  birth,  to  the 
testimony  of  the  precursor,  and  to  the  heavenly  voice  when 
he  was  baptized.  Besides  he  has  recognized  in  Christ's 
lineaments  the  imprint  of  the  Father's  glory,  and  avers 
that,  unless  they  can  counteract  and  defeat  the  Son's  ends, 
they  will  forfeit  all  they  have  gained.  Realizing,  however, 
that  this  task  is  far  greater  than  the  one  he  undertook 
centuries  before, — when  he  winged  his  way  through  chaos 
to  discover  the  new  world  and  tempt  our  first  parents, — 
he  volunteers  to  undertake  it  in  person,  and  all  the  evil 
spirits  applaud  him.  This  settled,  Satan  departs  to  carry 
out  the  second  temptation. 

Meantime  another  assembly  has  been  held  in  heaven, 
where,  addressing  the  archangel  Gabriel,  the  Almighty  in- 
forms him  he  will  soon  see  the  fulfilment  of  the  message  he 
bore  some  thirty  years  previously  to  Mary.  He  adds  that 
his  Son,  whom  he  has  publicly  recognized,  is  about  to  be 
tempted  by  Satan,  who,  although  he  failed  in  the  case 
of  Job,  is  undertaking  this  new  task  confident  of  success. 
The  Almighty  also  predicts  that  Satan  wiU  again  be  de- 
feated, but  declares  Christ  is  as  free  to  yield  or  resist  as 
Adam  when  first  created,  and  that  before  sending  him  out 
to  encounter  Sin  and  Death  he  means  to  strengthen  him  by 
a  sojourn  in  the  desert.  On  hearing  that  Satan's  evil  plans 
will  be  frustrated,  the  angels  burst  into  a  hymn  of  triumph 
with  which  heaven  resounds. 

So  spake  the  eternal  Father,  and  all  Heaven 
Admiring  stood  a  space;  then  into  hymns 
Burst  forth,  and  in  celestial  measures  movejl. 


PARADISE  REGAINED  315 

Circling  the  throne  and  singing,  while  the  hand 
Sung  with  the  voice;  and  this  the  argument: 
"Victory  and  triumph  to  the  Son  of  God 
Now  entering  his  great  duel,  not  of  arms, 
But  to  vanquish  by  wisdom  hellish  wiles. 
The  Father  knows  the  Son;  therefore  secure 
Ventures  his  filial  virtue,  though  untried. 
Against  whate'er  may  tempt,  whate'er  seduce. 
Allure,  or  terrify,  or  undermine. 
Be  frustrate,  all  ye  stratagems  of  Hell, 
And  devilish  machinations  come  to  nought." 

During  this  time  the  Son  of  God,  after  lingering  three 
days  by  the  Jordan,  is  driven  by  the  Holy  Spirit  into  the 
wilderness,  where  he  spends  his  time  meditating  upon  the 
great  office  he  had  undertaken  as  Saviour  of  mankind.  In 
a  grand  soliloquy  we  hear  how  since  early  youth  he  has 
been  urged  onward  by  divine  and  philosophical  influences, 
and  how,  realizing  he  was  bom  to  further  truth,  he  has 
diligently  studied  the  law  of  God.  Thanks  to  these  studies, 
our  Lord  at  twelve  could  measure  his  learning  with  that 
of  the  rabbis  in  the  temple.  Ever  since  that  time  he  has 
longed  to  rescue  his  people  from  the  Roman  yoke,  to  end 
brutality,  to  further  all  that  is  good,  and  to  win  all  hearts 
to  God.  He  recalls  the  stories  his  mother  told  him  in  regard 
to  the  annunciation,  to  his  virgin  birth,  and  to  the  Star  of 
Bethlehem,  and  comments  upon  the  fact  that  the  precursor 
immediately  recognized  him  and  that  a  voice  from  heaven 
hailed  him  as  the  Son  of  God ! 

Although  Christ  realizes  he  has  been  sent  into  the  wilder- 
ness by  divine  power,  and  that  his  future  way  lies  "through 
many  a  hard  assay"  and  may  lead  even  to  death,  he  does 
not  repine.  Instead  he  spends  the  forty  days  in  the  wilder- 
ness fasting,  preparing  himself  for  the  great  work  which 
he  is  called  upon  to  accomplish,  and  paying  no  heed  to 
the  wild  beasts  which  prowl  around  him  without  doing  him 
any  harm. 

It  is  only  when  weakness  has  reached  its  highest  point 
and  when  Christ  begins  to  hunger,  that  Satan  approaches 
him  in  thp  guise  of  an  old  peasant,  pathetically  describing 
the  difficulty  of  maintaining  life  in  the  wilderness.    Then 


316  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

he  adds  that,  having  seen  Jesus  baptized  in  the  Jordan, 
he  begs  him  to  turn  the  stones  around  him  into  food,  thereby 
relieving  himself  and  his  wretched  fellow-sufferer  from  the 
pangs  of  hunger. 

"  But,  if  thou  be  the  Son  of  God,  command 
That  out  of  these  hard  stones  be  made  thee  bread; 
So  shalt  thou  save  thyself  and  us  relieve 
With  food,  whereof  we  wretched  seldom  taste." 

Jesus,  however,  merely  reproaches  the  tempter,  rejoin- 
ing, "Man  shall  not  live  by  bread  alone,  but  from  the  words 
which  proceed  out  of  the  mouth  of  God,"  and  explaining 
that  he  knows  who  Satan  is  and  for  what  purpose  he  has 
been  sent  hither.  Unable  to  conceal  his  identity  any  longer, 
the  evil  spirit  admits  he  has  come  straight  from  hell,  but 
adds  that  God  gave  him  power  to  test  Job  and  to  punish 
Ahab.  He  argues  that  the  Almighty,  who  fed  the  Israelites 
with  manna  and  supplied  Elijah  with  miraculous  food,  does 
not  intend  to  starve  his  only  Son.  Then,  expressing  ad- 
miration for  Jesus'  intellect,  Satan  explains  he  is  not  the 
foe  of  man,  since  through  him  he  has  gained  everything, 
and  whom  he  prides  himself  upon  having  often  helped 
by  oracles  and  omen.  In  spite  of  these  arguments,  Jesus 
refuses  to  listen  to  him,  declares  his  oracles  have  lost  all 
power,  and  adds  that  he  is  sent  to  execute  his  Father's 
will. 

"God  hath  now  sent  his  living  oracle 
Into  the  world  to  teach  his  final  will, 
And  sends  his  Spirit  of  truth  henceforth  to  dwell 
In  pious  hearts,  an  inward  oracle 
To  all  truth  requisite  for  men  to  know." 

Thus  baffled,  Satan  vanishes  into  "thin  air  diffused," 
and  night  steals  over  the  desert,  where  fowls  seek  their 
nests  while  the  wild  beasts  begin  to  roam  in  search  of  food. 

Book  II.  John  the  Baptist  and  his  disciples,  made 
anxious  by  Jesus'  long  absence,  now  begin  to  seek  him  as 
the  prophets  sought  Elijah,  fearing  lest  he  too  may  have 
been  caught  up  into  heaven.  Hearing  Simon  and  Andrew 
wonder  where  he  has  gone  and  what  he  is  doing,  Mary 


PARADISE  REGAINED  317 

relates  the  extraordinary  circumstances  which,  accompanied 
her  Son's  birth,  mentioning  the  flight  into  Egypt,  the  re- 
turn to  Nazareth,  and  sundry  other  occurrences  during  the 
youth  of  our  Lord.  She  declares  that,  ever  since  Gabriel's 
message  feU  upon  her  ear,  she  has  been  trying  to  prepare 
herself  for  the  fulfilment  of  a  promise  then  made  her,  and 
has  often  wondered  what  Simeon  meant  when  he  cried 
that  a  sword  would  pierce  her  very  soul!  Still,  she  re- 
calls how  at  twelve  years  of  age,  she  grieved  over  the  loss 
of  her  Son,  until  she  found  him  in  the  temple,  when  he 
excused  himself  by  stating  he  must  be  about  his  Father's 
business.  Ever  since  then  Mary  has  patiently  awaited  what 
is  to  come  to  pass,  realizing  the  child  she  bore  is  destined 
to  great  things. 

Thus  Mary  pondering  oft,  and  oft  to  mind 
Recalling  what  remarkably  had  passed 
Since  first  her  salutation  heard,  with  thoughts 
Meekly  composed  awaited  fulfilling. 

Satan,  having  hastened  back  to  the  infernal  regions, 
reports  the  ill  success  of  his  first  venture,  and  the  effect 
his  first  temptation  had  upon  our  Lord.  Feeling  at  a  loss, 
he  invites  the  demons  to  assist  him  with  their  counsel, 
warning  them  this  task  will  prove  far  more  difficult  than 
that  of  leading  Adam  astray.  Belial,  the  most  dissolute 
spirit  in  hell,  then  proposes  that  Satan  tempt  Jesus  with 
women,  averring  that  the  female  sex  possesses  so  many 
wiles  that  even  Solomon,  wisest  of  kings,  succumbed.  But 
Satan  scornfully  rejects  this  proposal,  declaring  that  He 
whom  they  propose  thus  to  tempt  is  far  wiser  than  Solomon 
and  has  a  much  more  exalted  mind.  Although  certain 
Christ  will  prove  impervious  to  the  bait  of  sense,  Satan 
surmises  that,  owing  to  a  prolonged  fast,  he  may  be  sus- 
ceptible to  the  temptation  of  hunger,  so,  taking  a  select 
band  of  spirits,  he  returns  to  the  desert  to  renew  his  at- 
tempts in  a  diEferent  form. 

Transferring  us  again  to  the  solitude,  the  poet  describes 
how  our  Saviour  passed  the  night  dreaming  of  Elijah  fed 


318  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

by  the  ravens  and  of  Daniel  staying  his  hunger  with  pulse. 
Awakened  at  last  by  the  song  of  the  larks,  our  Lord  rises 
from  his  couch  on  the  hard  ground,  and,  strolling  into  a 
fertile  valley,  encounters  Satan,  who,  superbly  dressed,  ex- 
presses surprise  he  should  receive  no  aid  in  the  wilderness 
when  Hagar,  the  Israelites,  and  Elijah  were  all  fed  by 
divine  intervention.  Then  Satan  exhibits  the  wonderful 
banquet  he  has  prepared,  inviting  Christ  to  partake  of  it; 
but  the  Son  of  God  haughtily  informs  him  he  can  obtain 
food  whenever  he  wishes,  and  hence  need  not  accept  what 
he  knows  is  offered  with  evil  intent.  Seeing  our  Lord  can- 
not be  assailed  on  the  ground  of  appetite,  Satan  causes  the 
banquet  to  vanish,  but  remains  to  tempt  Christ  with  an 
offer  of  riches,  artfully  setting  forth  the  power  that  can 
be  acquired  by  their  means.  He  adds,  since  Christ's  mind 
is  set  on  high  designs,  he  will  require  greater  wealth  than 
stands  at  the  disposal  of  the  Son  of  Joseph  the  carpenter. 
But,  although  Satan  offers  to  bestow  vast  treasures  upon 
him,  Christ  rejects  this  proffer  too,  describing  what  noble 
deeds  have  been  achieved  by  poor  men  such  as  Gideon, 
Jephtha,  and  David,  as  well  as  by  certain  Romans.  He  adds 
that  riches  often  mislead  their  possessor,  and  so  eloquently 
daseribes  the  drawbacks  of  wealth  that  Satan  realizes  it  is 
useless  to  pursue  this  attempt. 

Booh  III.  Again  complimenting  Christ  on  his  acumen, 
Satan  rehearses  the  great  deeds  performed  by  Philip  of 
Macedon  and  by  Julius  Caesar,  who  began  their  glorious 
careers  earlier  in  life  than  he.  Then,  hoping  to  kindle  in 
Jesus'  heart  a  passion  for  worldly  glory,  Satan  artfuUy 
relates  that  Caesar  wept  because  he  had  lived  so  long  with- 
out distinguishing  himself;  but  our  Lord  quietly  demon- 
strates the  futility  of  earthly  fame,  compared  to  real  glory, 
which  is  won  only  through  religious  patience  and  virtuous 
striving,  such  as  was  practiced  by  Job  and  Socrates.  When 
Christ  repeats  he  is  not  seeking  his  own  glory  but  that  of 
the  Father  who  sent  him,  Satan  reminds  him  God  is  sur- 
rounded with  splendor  and  that  it  behooves  his  Son  to 
strive  to  be  like  him.    But  Jesus  rejoins  that,  while  glory 


PAKADISE  REGAINED  319 

is  the  essential  attribute  of  the  Creator,  no  one  else  has  a 
right  to  aspire  to  anything  of  the  sort. 

Undeterred  by  these  checks,  Satan  changes  his  theme, 
and  reminds  Christ  that,  as  a  member  of  the  royal  family, 
he  is  not  only  entitled  to  the  throne,  but  expected  to  free 
Judea  from  Roman  oppression.  He  states  that  the  holy 
temple  has  been  defiled,  that  injustice  has  been  committed, 
and  urges  that  even  the  Maccabees  resorted  to  arms  to  free 
their  country.  Although  Christ  insists  no  such  mission  has 
been  appointed  for  him,  he  adds  that,  although  his  reign 
will  never  end,  it  will  be  only  those  who  can  suffer  best 
who  will  be  able  to  enjoy  it. 

"  Who  best 
Can  suffer,  best  can  do;  best  reign,  who  first 
Well  hath  obeyed;  just  trial  ere  I  merit 
My  exaltation  without  change  or  end." 

Then,  turning  upon  his  interlocutor,  Christ  inquires 
why  he  is  so  anxious  to  promote  the  one  whose  rise  will 
entail  his  fall?  To  which  Satan  replies  that,  having  no 
hope,  it  little  behooves  him  to  obstruct  the  plans  of  Christ, 
from  whose  benevolence  alone  he  expects  some  mitigation  of 
his  punishment,  for  he  fancies  that  by  speaking  thus  he 
can  best  induce  Christ  to  hear  him.  Then,  feigning  to 
believe  that  Christ  has  refused  his  offers  simply  because  he 
has  never  seen  aught  save  Jerusalem,  Satan  conveys  him 
in  the  twinkling  of  an  eye  to  the  summit  of  a  mountain, 
whence,  pointing  eastward,  he  shows  him  all  the  great 
Idngdoms  of  Asia.  Thus,  he  reveals  the  glories  of  Assyria, 
Babylonia,  and  Persia, — of  whose  histories  he  gives  a  brief 
resume, — before  pointing  out  a  large  Parthian  army  setting 
out  to  war  against  the  Scythians,  for  he  hopes  by  this 
martial  display  to  convince  Christ  that,  in  order  to  obtain 
a  kingdom,  he  will  have  to  resort  to  military  force.  Then 
he  adds  he  can  easily  enlist  the  services  of  this  army,  with 
which  Christ  can  drive  the  Romans  out  of  Judea,  and  tri- 
umphantly reign  over  the  land  of  his  ancestors,  whence  his 
glory  will  extend  far  and  wide,  until  it  far  surpasses  all 


320  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

that  Rome  and  Caesar  achieved.  Jesus,  however,  demon- 
strates the  vanity  of  all  military  efforts,  declaring  his  time 
has  not  yet  come,  but  assuring  him  he  will  not  be  found 
wanting  when  the  moment  comes  for  him  to  ascend  the 
throne,  for  he  hopes  to  prove  an  able  ruler. 

Then  he  reminds  Satan  how  he  tempted  David  to  take  a 
census  against  God's  wish,  and  led  Israel  astray,  until  the 
Ten  Tribes  were  taken  off  into  captivity  in  punishment  for 
their  idolatry.  He  also  comments  upon  Satan's  extra- 
ordinary anxiety  to  restore  the  very  people  whose  foe  he 
has  always  been,  as  he  has  proved  time  and  again  by  lead- 
ing them  into  idolatry,  adding  that  God  may  yet  restore 
them  to  their  liberty  and  to  their  native  land.  These  argu- 
ments silence  even  Satan,  for  such  is  ever  the  result  when 
"with  truth  falsehood  contends." 

Book  IV.  With  all  the  persistency  of  his  kind,  Satan 
refuses  to  acknowledge  himself  beaten,  and,  leading  Christ 
to  the  western  side  of  the  mountain,  reveals  to  him  all  the 
splendor  of  Rome,  exhibiting  its  Capitol,  Tarpeian  Rock, 
triumphal  arches,  and  the  great  roads  along  which  hosts 
are  journeying  to  the  Eternal  City.  After  thus  dazzling 
him,  Satan  suggests  that  Christ  oust  Tiberius  (who  has  no 
son)  from  the  imperial  throne,  and  make  himself  master 
not  only  of  David's  realm,  but  of  the  whole  Roman  Empire, 
establishing  law  and  order  where  vice  now  reigns. 

Although  Satan  eagerly  proffers  his  aid  to  accomplish 
all  this,  our  Lord  rejoins  such  a  position  has  no  attraction 
for  him,  adding  that,  as  long  as  the  Romans  were  frugal, 
mild,  and  temperate,  they  were  happy,  but  that,  when  they 
became  avaricious  and  brutal,  they  forfeited  their  happi- 
ness. He  adds  that  he  has  not  been  sent  to  free  the  Romans, 
but  that,  when  his  season  comes  to  sit  on  David's  throne, 
his  rule  will  spread  over  the  whole  world  and  will  dwell 
there  without  end. 

"Know,  therefore,  when  my  season  comes  to  sit 
On  David's  throne,  it  shall  be  like  a  tree 
Spreading  and  overshadowing  all  the  earth. 
Or  as  a  stone  that  shall  to  pieces  dash 


PARADISE  REGAINED  321 

All  monarchies  besides  throughout  the  world, 
And  of  my  kingdom  there  shall  be  no  end: 
Means  there  shall  be  to  this,  but  what  the  means 
Is  not  for  thee  to  know  nor  me  to  tell." 

Pretending  that  Christ's  reluctance  is  due  to  the  fact 
that  he  shrinks  from  the  exertions  necessary  to  obtain  this 
boon,  Satan  offers  to  bestow  it  freely  upon  him,  provided 
he  wiU  fall  down  and  worship  him.  Hearing  this  proposal, 
Christ  rebukes  the  tempter,  saying,  "Thou  shalt  worship 
the  Lord  thy  God  and  only  him  shalt  serve,"  and  reviling 
him  for  his  ingratitude.  To  pacify  his  interlocutor,  Satan 
then  proposes  to  make  him  famous  through  wisdom,  and 
exhibits  Athens, — ^that  celebrated  centre  of  ancient  learn- 
ing,— offering  to  make  him  master  of  all  its  schools  of 
philosophy,  oratory,  and  poetry,  and  thus  afford  him  ample 
intellectual  gratification.  But  Jesus  rejects  this  offer  also, 
after  proving  the  vanity  and  insufficiency  of  heathen 
philosophy  and  learning,  and  after  demonstrating  that 
many  books  are  a  weariness  to  the  flesh,  and  that  none  com- 
pare with  those  which  are  the  proudest  boast  of  God's 
Chosen  People. 

"  However,  many  books, 
Wise  men  have  said,  are  wearisome:  who  reads 
Incessantly,  and  to  his  reading  brings  not 
A  spirit  and  judgment  equal  or  superior 
(And  what  he  brings,  what  needs  he  elsewhere  seek?). 
Uncertain  and  unsettled  still  remains. 
Deep  versed  in  books  and  shallow  in  himself. 
Crude  or  intoxicate,  collecting  toys 
And  trifles  for  choice  matters,  worth  a  sponge; 
As  children  gathering  pebbles  on  the  shore." 

Irritated  by  the  failure  of  all  his  attempts,  Satan  next 
taunts  his  opponent  by  describing  the  sufferings  and  humilia- 
tions he  will  have  to  undergo,  until,  seeing  this  too  has  no 
effect,  he  suddenly  bears  him  back  to  the  wilderness,  where 
he  leaves  him  for  the  night,  during  which  he  sends  a  terrific 
storm  to  appall  him.  Even  in  sleep  Jesus  is  haunted  by 
dreams  and  spectres  sent  by  the  tempter,  but  at  dawn  all 
these  visions  disappear,  the  storm  dies  down,  and  a  lovely 
morning  greets  him  when  he  awakes. 
21 


322  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Once  more  Satan  appears  to  warn  our  Lord  that  the 
dreams  of  the  night  and  the  horrors  of  the  tempest  were 
foreshadowings  of  what  he  will  have  to  undergo.  In  spite 
of  this,  Christ  assures  him  he  is  toiling  in  vain ;  whereupon, 
swollen  with  rage,  Satan  confesses  that  ever  since  he  heard 
Gabriel's  announcement  to  the  shepherds  in  regard  to 
Christ's  birth,  he  has  watched  him,  hoping  to  get  some  hold 
upon  him  during  his  infancy,  youth,  or  early  manhood. 
He  now  inquires  whether  Christ  is  really  his  destined  foe 
and  reluctantly  admits  he  has  failed  in  all  his  endeavors 
to  tempt  him.  But  one  last  test  still  remains  to  be  tried, 
for  Satan  suddenly  conveys  Christ  to  the  topmost  pinnacle 
of  the  Temple  of  Jerusalem,  bidding  him  demonstrate  his 
divinity  by  fearlessly  casting  himself  down,  since  God  has 
"given  his  angels  charge  concemiag  him." 

Not  only  does  our  Lord  reprove  the  tempter,  but  so 
calmly  manifests  his  divine  power  by  standing  erect  on  this 
dangerous  point,  that  Satan — like  all  other  defeated  mon- 
sters, such  as  the  Sphinx — falls  howling  down  into  the 
infernal  regions.  At  the  same  time  angels  convey  our  Lord 
to  a  lovely  valley,  where  they  minister  unto  him  with 
celestial  food  and  celebrate  his  victory  with  a  triumphal 
hymn,  for  the  Son  of  God  has  successfully  resisted  the 
tempter,  before  whom  Adam  succumbed,  and  has  thereby 
saved  man  from  the  penalty  of  his  sin. 

Henceforth  Satan  will  never  again  dare  set  foot  in 
Paradise,  where  Adam  and  his  chosen  descendants  are  to 
dwell  secure,  while  the  Son  of  Man  completes  the  work  he 
has  been  sent  to  do. 

Thus  they  the  Son  of  God,  our  Saviour  meek, 
Sung  victor,  and  from  heavenly  feast  refreshed 
Brought  on  his  way  with  joy;  he  unobserved 
Home  to  his  mother'a  private  liouse  returned. 


GERMAN  EPICS 

German  literature  begins  after  the  great  migrations 
{circa  600),  and  its  earliest  samples  are  traditional  songs 
of  an  epic  character,  like  the  Hildebrandslied.  Owing  to 
diversities  of  race  and  speech,  there  are  in  southern  and 
northern  Germany  various  epic  cycles  which  cluster  around 
such  heroes  as  Ermanrich  the  Goth,  Dietrich  von  Bern,  ' 
Theodoric  the  East  Goth,  Attila  the  Hun,  Gunther  the  Bur- 
gundian,  Otfried  the  Langobardian,  and  Sigfried — per- 
chance a  Frisian,  or,  as  some  authorities  claim,  the  famous 
Arminius  who  triumphed  over  the  Romans. 

The  Hildenbrandslied  relates  how  Hildebrand,  after 
spending  thirty  years  in  Hungary,  returns  to  North  Italy, 
leaving  behind  him  a  wife  and  infant  son  Hadubrand.  A 
false  rumor  of  Hildebrand 's  death  reaches  Hungary  when 
Hadubrand  has  achieved  great  renown  as  a  warrior,  so, 
when  in  quest  for  adventure  the  young  man  meets  his 
father,  he  deems  him  an  impostor  and  fights  with  him  until 
the  poem  breaks  off,  leaving  us  uncertain  whether  father 
or  son  was  victorious.  But  later  poets,  such  as  Kaspar  von 
der  Rhon,  give  the  story  a  happy  ending,  thus  avoiding  the 
tragic  note  struck  in  Sorab  and  Rustem  (p.  410). 

There  existed  so  many  of  these  ancient  epic  songs  that 
Charlemagne  undertook  to  collect  them,  but  Louis  I,  his 
all  too  pious  son,  destroyed  this  collection  on  his  accession 
to  the  throne,  because,  forsooth,  these  epics  glorified  the 
pagan  gods  his  ancestors  had  worshipped! 

Still  not  all  the  Teutonic  epics  are  of  pagan  origin,  for 
in  the  second  period  we  find  such  works  as  Visions  of 
Judgment  (Muspilli),  Lives  of  Saints,  and  biblical  nar- 
ratives like  Heliant  (the  Saviour),  Judith,  the  Exodus, 
der  Krist  by  Otfried,  and  monkish-political  works  like  the 
Ludwigslied,  or  history  of  the  invasion  of  the  Normans. 
There  is  also  the  epic  of  Walter  von  Aquitanien,  which, 

323 


324  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

although  written  in  Latin,  shows  many  traces  of  German 
origin. 

In  Walther  von  Aquitanien  we  have  an  epic  of  the 
,  Burgundian-Hunnish  cycle  written  by  Ekkehard  of  St. 
Gall  before  973.  It  relates  the  escape  of  Walther  von 
Aquitanien  and  his  betrothed  Hildegund  from  the  court 
of  Attila,  where  the  young  man  was  detained  as  a  hostage. 
After  describing  their  preparations  for  flight,  their  method 
of  travel  and  camping,  the  poet  relates  how  they  were 
overtaken  in  the  Vosges  Mountains  by  a  force  led  by 
Gunther  and  Hagen,  who  wish  to  secure  the  treasures  they 
are  carrying.  Warned  in  time  by  Hildegund, — ^who  keeps 
watch  while  he  sleeps, — ^Walther  dons  his  armor,  and 
single-handed  disposes  of  many  foes.  When  Gunther, 
Hagen,  and  Walther  alone  survive,  although  sorely  dis- 
abled, peace  is  concluded,  and  the  lovers  resume  their 
journey  and  reach  Aquitania  safely,  where  they  reign  hap- 
pily thirty  years. 

In  the  third  period  "the  crusades  revived  the  epic 
memories  of  Charlemagne  and  Eoland  and  of  the  triumphs 
of  Alexander,"  thus  giving  birth  to  a  Eolandslied  and  an 
Alexanderlied,  as  well  as  to  endless  chivaMc  epics,  or 
romances  in  verse  and  prose. 

The  Eolandslied — ^an  art  epic — gives  the  marriage  and 
banishment  of  Charlemagne's  sister  Bertha,  the  birth  of 
Roland,  the  manner  in  which  he  exacted  tribute  from  his 
playmates  to  procure  clothes,  his  first  appearance  in  his 
uncle's  palace,  his  bold  seizure  of  meat  and  drink  from 
the  royal  table  to  satisfy  his  mother's  needs,  Charlemagne's 
forgiveness  of  his  sister  for  the  sake  of  her  spirited  boy, 
the  episode  regarding  the  giant  warrior  in  the  Ardennes, 
the  fight  with  Oliver,  the  ambush  at  Roncevaux,  and  end 
with  Roland's  death  and  the  punishment  of  the  traitor 
Ganelon.  But  later  legends  claim  that  Roland,  recovering 
from  the  wounds  received  at  Roncevaux,  returned  to  Ger- 
many and  to  his  fiancee  Aude,  who,  deeming  him  dead, 
had  meantime  taken  the  veil.     We  next  have  Roland's 


GERMAN  EPICS  323 

sorrow,  the  construction  of  his  hermitage  at  Rolandseck,^ 
whence  he  continually  overlooks  the  island  of  Nonnenworth 
and  the  convent  where  his  beloved  is  wearing  her  life  away 
in  prayers  for  his  soul.  This  cycle  concludes  with  Roland's 
death  and  burial  on  this  very  spot,  his  face  still  turned 
toward  the  grave  where  his  sweetheart  rests. 

In  the  Langobardian  cycle  ^  also  is  the  tale  of  "  Rother," 
supposed  to  be  Charlemagne 's  grandfather,  one  of  the  court 
epics  of  the  Lombard  cycle.  In  King  Rother  we  have  the 
abduction  by  Rother  of  the  emperor's  daughter,  her  recov- 
ery by  her  father,  and  Rother 's  pursuit  and  final  reconquest 
of  his  wife.  The  next  epic  in  the  cycle, ' '  Otnit, ' '  related  the 
marriage  of  this  king  to  a  heathen  princess,  her  father '.? 
gift  of  dragon's  eggs,  and  the  hatching  of  these  monsters, 
which  ultimately  cause  the  death  of  Otnit  and  infest 
Teutonic  lands  with  their  progeny.  Then  come  the  legends 
of  Hug-Dietrich  and  Wolf -Dietrich,  which  continue  the 
Lombard  cycle  and  pursue  the  adventures  of  Otnit  to  his 
death. 

The  legend  of  Herzog  Ernst  is  still  popular,  and  relates 
how  a  duke  of  Bavaria  once  made  a  pilgrimage  to  Jeru- 
salem and  lived  through  endless  thrilling  adventures  on 
the  way. 

The  greatest  of  all  the  German  epics  is  undoubtedly  the 
Nibelungenlied, — of  which  we  give  a  synopsis, — ^whieh  is 
often  termed  the  Iliad  of  Germany,  while  "Gudrun"  is 
considered  its  Odyssey.  This  folk  epic  relates  how  Hagan, 
son  of  a  king,  was  carried  off  at  seven  years  of  age  by  a 
griffin.  But,  before  the  monster  or  its  young  could  devour 
him,  the  sturdy  child  effected  his  escape  into  the  wilder- 
ness, where  he  grew  up  with  chance-found  companions. 
Rescued  finally  by  a  passing  ship,  these  young  people  are 
threatened  with  slavery,  but  spared  so  sad  a  fate  thanks 
to  Hagan 's  courage.  Hagan  now  returns  home,  becomes 
king,  and  has  a  child,  whose  daughter  Gudrun  is  carried 
away  from  father  and  lover  by  a  prince  of  Zealand.    On 

'See  the  author's  "Legends  of  the  Rhine." 

'  See  the  author's  "  Legends  of  the  Middle  Ages." 


THE  BOOK  OP  THE  EPIC 

his  way  home,  the  kidnapper  is  overtaken  by  his  pursuers, 
and  wages  a  terrible  battle  on  the  Wiilpensand,  wherein 
he  proves  victorious.  But  the  kidnapper  cannot  induce 
Gudrun  to  accept  his  attentions,  although  he  tries  hard  to 
win  her  love.  His  mother,  exasperated  by  this  resistance, 
finally  undertakes  to  force  Gudrun  to  submit  by  dint  of 
hardships,  and  even  sends  her  out  barefoot  in  the  snow  to 
do  the  family  washing.  While  thus  engaged,  Gudrun  and 
her  faithful  companion  are  discovered  by  the  princess' 
brother  and  lover,  who  arrange  the  dramatic  rescue  of 
the  damsels,  whom  they  marry.' 

Next  in  order  come  the  philosophic  epies  of  Wolfram 
von  Eschenbach,  including  the  immortal  Parzifal — which 
has  been  used  by  Tennyson  and  Wagner  in  their  poems 
and  opera — and  the  poetic  tales  of  Gottfried  of  Strass- 
burg,  whose  Tristan  und  Isolde,  though  unfinished,  is  a 
fine  piece  of  work.  Hartmann  von  der  Aue  is  author  of 
Erek  und  Enide, — the  subject  of  Tennyson  'a  poem, — of  Der 
arme  Heinrich, — ^whieh  served  as  foundation  for  Long- 
fellow's Golden  Legend, — and  of  Iwein  or  the  Knight  with 
the  Lion. 

Among  the  Minnesingers  of  greatest  note  are  Walther 
von  der  Vogelweide,  Wolfram  von  Eschenbach,  and  later, 
when  their  head-quarters  were  at  Niiremberg,  Hans  Sachs. 
Their  favorite  themes  were  court  epies,  dealing  especially 
with  the  legends  of  Arthur,  of  the  Holy  Grail,  and  of 
Charles  the  Great.  Many  of  these  epics  are  embodied 
in  the  Heldenbuch,  or  Book  of  Heroes,  compiled  in  the 
fifteenth  century  by  Kaspar  von  der  Rhon,  while  the 
Abentuerbuch  contains  many  of  these  legends  as  well  as 
Der  Rosengarten  and  Konig  Laurin. 

In  the  second  part  of  the  thirteenth  century  artificiality 
and  vulgarity  began  to  preponderate,  provoking  as  counter- 
weights didactic  works  such  as  Der  Krieg  auf  der  Wartburg. 

"  Detailed  accounts  of  "  Gudrun "  and  several  other  of  these 
subordinate  epics  can  be  found  in  the  author's  "Legends  of  the 
Middle  Ages." 


GERMAN  EPICS  327 

The  fourteenth  century  saw  the  rise  of  the  free  cities, 
literary  guilds,  and  five  universities.  It  also  marks  the 
cultivation  of  political  satire  in  such  works  as  Reinecke 
Puehs,  and  of  narrative  prose  chronicles  like  the  Liine- 
burger,  Alsatian,  and  Thuringian  Chronicles,  which  are 
sometimes  termed  prose  epics.  The  Volksbiicher  also  date 
from  this  time,  and  have  preserved  for  us  many  tales  which 
would  otherwise  have  been  lost,  such  as  the  legends  of  the 
Wandering  Jew  and  Dr.  Faustus. 

The  age  of  Reformation  proved  too  serious  for  poets 
to  indulge  in  any  epics  save  new  versions  of  Reinecke  Fuehs 
and  Der  Froschmeuseler,  and  after  the  Thirty  Years'  War 
the  first  poem  of  this  class  really  worthy  of  mention  is 
Klopstock's  Messias,  or  epic  in  twenty  books  on  the  life 
and  mission  of  Christ  and  the  fulfilment  of  the  task  for 
which  he  was  foreordained. 

Contemporary  with  Klopstock  are  many  noted  writers, 
who  distinguished  themselves  in  what  is  known  as  the 
classic  period  of  German  literature.  This  begins  with 
Goethe's  return  from  Italy,  when  he,  with  Schiller's  aid, 
formed  a  classical  school  of  literature  in  Germany. 

While  Schiller  has  given  us  the  immortal  epic  drama 
"William  Tell,"  Goethe  produced  the  idyllic  epic  "Her- 
mann und  Dorothea,"  the  dramatical  epic  "Faust,"  and  an 
inimitable  version  of  the  animal  epic  "Reinecke  Fuehs." 

Wieland  also  was  a  prolific  writer  in  many  fields;  in- 
spired by  the  Arabian  Nights,  Shakespeare's  Midsummer 
Night's  Dream,  and  Huon  de  Bordeaux,*  he  composed  an 
allegorical  epie  entitled  "Oberon,"  wherein  "picture 
after  picture  is  unfolded  to  his  readers,"  and  which  has 
since  served  as  a  theme  for  musicians  and  painters. 

Since  Goethe's  day  Wagner  has  made  the  greatest  and 
most  picturesque  use  of  the  old  German  epic  material,  for 
the  themes  of  nearly  all  his  operas  are  drawn  from  this 
source.® 


*Bee  the  author's  "Legends  of  the  Middle  Ages." 
» See  the  author's  "  Stories  of  the  Wagner  Operas." 


? 


328  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 


THE  NIBELUNGENLIED « 

The  Nibelungenlied,  or  Song  of  the  Nibelungs,  was 
written  about  the  beginning  of  the  thirteenth  century, 
although  it  relates  events  dating  back  to  the  sixth  or 
seventh.  Some  authorities  claim  it  consists  of  twenty  songs 
of  various  dates  and  origin,  others  that  it  is  the  work  of  a 
single  author.  The  latter  ascribe  the  poem  to  Conrad  von 
Kiirenberg,  "Wolfram  von  Eschenbach,  Heinrich  von 
Ofterdingen,  or  Walther  von  der  Vogelweide.  The  poem 
is  divided  into  thirty-nine  "adventures,"  and  contains  two 
thousand  four  hundred  and  fifty-nine  stanzas  of  four  lines 
each.  The  action  covers  a  period  of  about  thirty  years  and 
is  based  on  materials  taken  from  the  Frankish,  Burgundian, 
Austro-Gothic,  and  Hunnish  saga  cycles. 

Dietrich  von  Bern,  one  of  the  characters,  is  supposed 
to  be  Theodoric  of  Italy,  while  Etzel  has  been  identified  with 
Attila  the  Hun,  and  the  Gunther  with  a  king  of  the  Bur- 
gundians  who  was  destroyed  with  all  his  followers  by  the 
Huns  in  436. 

1st  Adventure.  Three  Burgundian  princes  dwell  at 
Worms  on  the  Rhine,  where,  at  the  time  when  the  poem 
opens  their  sister  Kriemhild  is  favored  by  a  vision  wherein 
two  eagles  pursue  a  falcon  and  tear  it  to  pieces  when  it 
seeks  refuge  on  her  breast. 

^  A  dream  was  dreamt  by  Kriemhild  the  virtuous  and  the  gay, 
,    ^   How  a  wild  young  falcon  she  train'd  for  many  a  day, 
Yc'"  \       Till  two  fierce  eaglea  tore  it;  to  her  there  could  not  be 
^'     vf'         In  all  the  world  such  sorrow  as  this  perforce  to  see.' 

/ 


^ 


Knowing  her  mother  expert  at  interpreting  dreams, 

/■  /^  \  Kriemhild  inquires  what  this  means,  only  to  learn  that  her 

f  (X  ^     I  future  spouse  will  be  attacked  by  grim  foes.    This  note  of 

'  \  tragedy,  heard  already  in  the  very  beginning  of  the  poem, 

i,  is  repeated  at  intervals  until  it  seems  like  the  reiterated 

^tolling  of  a  funeral  beU. 

"  See  the  author's  "  Legends  of  the  Middle  Ages."  , 

'All  the  quotations  in  this  chapter  are  from  Liettsom's  trans- 
lation of  "  The  Nibelungenlied." 


THE  NIBELUNGENLIED  329 

2d  Adventure.  The  poem  now  transfers  us  to  Xanten 
on  the  Bhine,  where  King  Siegmund  and  his  wife  hold  a 
tournament  for  the  coming  of  age  of  their  only  son  Sieg- 
fried, who  distinguishes  himself  greatly  and  in  whose  be- 
half his  mother  lavishes  rich  gifts  upon  all  present. 

The  gorgeous  feast  it  lasted  till  the  seventh  day  was  o'er; 
Si^elind  the  wealthy  did  as  they  did  of  yore; 
She  won  for  valiant  Si^fried  the  hearts  of  young  and  old 
When  for  his  sake  among  them  she  shower'd  the  ruddy  gold. 

3d  Adventure.  Hearing  of  the  beauty  of  Kriemhild, 
Siegfried  decides  to  go  and  woo  her,  taking  with  him  only 
a  troop  of  eleven  men.  His  arrival  at  Worms  causes  a 
sensation,  and  Hagen  of  Tronje — sl  cousin  of  King  Gunther 
— ^informs  his  master  that  this  visitor  once  distinguished 
himself  by  slaying  a  dragon  and  that  he  is  owner  of  the 
vast  Nibelungen  hoard.  This  treasure  once  belonged  to 
two  brothers,  who  implored  Siegfried  to  divide  it  between 
them,  a  task  he  undertook  in  exchange  for  the  sword — 
Bahnung — ^which  lay  on  top  of  the  heap  of  gold.  But  no 
sooner  had  he  made  the  division  than  the  brothers  mortally 
wounded  each  other  and  died  on  their  heaps  of  gold,  leaving 
their  treasure  to  Siegfried,  who  thus  became  the  richest 
man  in  the  world. 

On  hearing  the  new-comer  announce  he  has  come  to 
challenge  Gunther  to  a  duel,  the  Burgundians  are  dismayed, 
but  they  soon  succeed  in  disarming  their  guest,  and  finally 
persuade  him  to  remain  with  them  a  year,  entertaining  him 
with  games  and  tournaments  in  which  Siegfried  dis- 
tinguished himself  greatly,  to  the  satisfaction  of  Kriemhild 
who  witnesses  his  prowess  through  a  latticed  window. 

4th  Adventure'.  Toward  the  end  of  Siegfried's  visit,  it 
is  reported  that  the  kings  of  Saxony  and  Denmark  are 
advancing  Asdth  four  thousand  men.  The  dismay  of  the 
Burgundians  is  such  that  Siegfried  proposes  to  go  forth  and 
overpower  the  enemy  with  a  force  of  merely  one  thousand 
men.  Only  too  glad  to  accept  this  offer,  Gunther  allows 
Siegfried  to  depart,  and  is  overjoyed  when  the  young  hero 


330  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

comes  back  with  two  prisoner  monarehs  in  his  train.  The 
messenger  who  announces  Siegfried's  triumph  is,  moreover, 
richly  rewarded  by  Kriemhild,  who  flushes  with  pleasure 
on  hearing  the  praise  bestowed  upon  her  hero. 

5th  Adventure.  After  describing  the  tournament  held 
at  Worms  in  honor  of  this  victory,  the  poet  tells  us  how 
Siegfried  and  Kriemhild  met  there  face  to  face,  and  how 
they  fell  in  love  with  each  other  at  first  sight. 

Now  went  she  forth,  the  loveliest,  as  forth  the  morning  goes 
From  misty  clouds  out-beaming;  then  all  his  weary  woes 
Left  him,  in  heart  who  bore  her,  and  so,  long  time,  had  done. 
He  saw  there  stately  standing  the  fair,  the  peerless  one. 

The  result  was  of  course  an  immediate  proposal,  which 
Gunther  was  glad  to  accept  in  his  sister's  name. 

6th  Adventure.  He  bargained,  however,  that  before 
Siegfried  claimed  his  bride  he  should  go  with  him  to  Isen- 
land,  and  help  him  win  the  hand  of  Brunhild,  the  finest 
woman  in  the  world.  Gunther  needs  Siegfried's  help  in 
his  wooiug,  because  Brunhild  has  vowed  to  marry  only  the 
man  who  can  throw  a  spear  and  stone  farther  than  she  and 
surpass  her  in  jumping.  Siegfried,  who  apparently  pos- 
sesses some  knowledge  of  this  lady,  vainly  tries  to  dissuade 
Gunther,  and,  when  he  decides  to  accompany  him  in  his 
quest,  suggests  that  Hagen  and  another  knight  form  their 
train.  Kriemhild  provides  the  travellers  with  suitable  gar- 
ments, made  by  her  own  hands,  and  the  four  embark  on  a 
small  vessel,  in  which  they  sail  down  the  Rhine  and  out  to 
sea,  reaching  Isenland  only  twelve  days  after  their  start. 
As  they  near  this  land,  Siegfried  strictly  charges  his  com- 
panions to  tell  every  one  he  is  Gunther 's  vassal,  and  im- 
mediately begins  to  act  as  if  such  we#e  indeed  his  real 
station. 

7th  Adventure.  Gazing  out  of  her  window,  Brunhild 
perceives  the  approaching  ship,  and,  recognizing  within  it 
Siegfried, — ^who  visited  her  realm  once  before, — ^her  heart 
beats  with  joy  at  the  thought  that  he  has  come  to  woo  her. 
She  is,  however,  amazed  to  see  him  hold  Gunther 's  stirrup 


THE  NIBELUNGENLIED  331 

when  they  land,  and  to  learn  it  is  the  king  of  Burgundy 
who  sues  for  her  hand.  In  her  disappointment  Brunhild 
grimly  warns  the  new-eomer  that,  unless  he  prove  success- 
ful, he  and  his  men  must  die. 

"  He  must  cast  the  stone  beyond  me,  and  after  it  must  leap. 
Then  with  me  shoot  the  javelin;  too  quick  a  pace  you  keep; 
Stop  and  awhile  consider,  and  reckon  well  the  cost," 
The  warrioresa  made  answer,  "  ere  life  and  fame  be  lost." 

Undeterred  by  this  threat,  Gunther  volunteers  to  under- 
go the  test,  but  he  quails  when  he  sees  the  heavy  spear 
which  Brunhild  brandishes  and  when  he  perceives  that 
twelve  men  stagger  beneath  the  weight  she  proposes  to 
throw.  He  is,  however,  somewhat  reassured  when  Sieg- 
fried whispers  he  need  but  go  through  the  motions,  while 
his  friend,  concealed  by  the  Tarncappe, — ^the  cloak  of  in- 
visibility which  endows  the  wearer  with  the  strength  of 
twelve  men, — ^wiU  perform  the  required  feats  in  his  behalf. 

Said  he,  "  Off  with  the  buckler  and  give  it  me  to  bear. 
Now,  what  I  shall  advise  thee,  mark  with  thy  closest  care. 
Be  it  thine  to  make  the  gestures,  and  mine  the  work  to  do." 
Glad  man  was  then  king  Gunther,  when  he  his  helpmate  knew. 

In  the  first  test  Brunhild  casts  a  spear  with  such  force 
that  both  Gunther  and  his  invisible  companion  stagger 
and  nearly  fall,  but,  just  as  she  is  about  to  cry  victory, 
Siegfried  sends  back  the  spear  butt-end  foremost  and 
brings  her  to  her  knees.  Veiling  her  dismay  at  this  first 
defeat,  Brunhild  hurls  the  stone  to  a  great  distance  and 
lands  beside  it  with  a  flying  leap.  In  Gunther 's  place  the 
invisible  Siegfried  hurls  the  same  stone  much  farther  than 
Brunhild,  and  seizing  Gunther  by  his  belt  jumps  with  him 
to  the  spot  where  it  alighted.  Having  thus  been  outdone 
in  all  three  feats  of  strength,  Brunhild  no  longer  refuses 
her  hand  to  Gunther,  who  appears  triumphant,  although 
his  prospective  bride  looks  strangely  solemn  and  angry. 

Sth  Adventure.  Because  Brunhild  summons  to  her 
castle  a  large  number  of  warriors,  under  pretext  of  cele- 
brating her  nuptials,  Siegfried  sails  off  unseen  to  the  land 


332  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

of  the  Nibelungs,  where  lie  batters  at  his  castle  gate  de- 
manding admittance.  As  the  wary  dwarf  guardian  of  the 
Nibelung  hoard  refuses  to  admit  him,  Siegfried  fights  him, 
and  after  conquering  him  compels  him  to  recognize  his 
authority.  Then  he  bids  a  thousand  Nibelung  warriors 
accompany  him  back  to  Isenland,  and  Brunhild,  seeing  this 
force  approaching  and  learning  from  Gunther  it  is  part  of 
his  suite,  no  longer  dares  to  resist. 

9th  Adventure.  The  fair  bride,  escorted  by  all  these 
men,  now  sails  across  the  sea  and  up  the  Rhine.  As  they 
near  Burgundy,  Gunther  decides  to  send  word  of  their 
arrival,  and  persuades  Siegfried  to  act  as  his  messenger 
by  assuring  him  he  wiU  earn  KriemhUd's  gratitude. 

Said  he,  "  Nay,  gentle  Siegfried,  do  but  this  journey  take. 
Not  for  my  sake  only,  but  for  my  sister's  sake. 
You'll  oblige  fair  Kriemhild  in  this  as  well' as  me.'' 
When  so  implor'd  was  Siegfried,  ready  at  once  was  he. 

10th  Adventure.  Not  only  does  Siegfried  receive  the 
fair  lady's  hearty  thanks,  but  he  acts  as  her  escort  when 
she  hastens  down  to  the  bank  to  welcome  her  brother  and 
his  bride.  The  poem  then  describes  the  kissing,  speeches, 
and  grand  tournament  held  to  welcome  Brunhild,  as  well 
as  the  banquet  where  Siegfried  publicly  reminds  Gunther 
he  promised  him  Kriemhild 's  hand  as  soon  as  Brunhild  was 
won.  Exclaiming  this  promise  shall  immediately  be  re- 
deemed, Gunther  sends  for  his  sister,  although  his  new 
wife  openly  wonders  he  should  bestow  her  hand  upon  a 
mere  vassal.  Silencing  his  bride's  objections,  Gunther  con- 
fers Kriemhild 's  hand  upon  Siegfried,  and  thus  two  bridal 
couples  sit  side  by  side  at  the  evening  meal. 

The  hour  having  come  for  retiring,  Gunther,  attempting 
to  embrace  his  bride,  is  dismayed  to  find  himself  seized, 
bound  fast,  and  hung  up  on  a  peg,  where  he  dangles  all 
night  in  spite  of  piteous  entreaties  to  be  set  free.  It  is 
only  a  moment  before  the  servants  enter  on  the  morrow 
that  Brunhild  consents  to  release  her  spouse,  so  when  the 
bridegrooms  appear  in  public,  everybody  notices  that  while 


THE  NIBELUNGENLIED  333 

Siegfried  is  radiant,  Gunther's  brow  is  clouded  by  a  heavy- 
frown.  In  tbe  course  of  tbe  day,  the  King  of  Burgundy 
confides  to  his  new  brother-in-law  the  cause  of  his  dis- 
pleasure, whereupon  Siegfried  promises  to  don  his  cloud 
cloak  that  evening  and  compel  Gunther's  bride  to  treat 
her  husband  henceforth  with  due  respect.  True  to  this 
promise,  Siegfried,  unseen,  follows  Gunther  and  Brunhild 
into  their  apartment  that  night,  and,  the  lights  having  been 
extinguished,  wrestles  with  the  bride  until  she  acknowledges 
herself  beaten.  Although  fancying  she  is  yielding  to 
Gunther,  it  is  Siegfried  who  snatches  her  girdle  and  ring 
before  leaving  Gunther  to  reap  the  benefit  of  his  victory, 
for  Brunhild,  having  submitted  to  a  man,  loses  her  former 
fabulous  strength.  Meanwhile  Siegfried  returns  to  Kriem- 
hild,  imprudently  relates  how  he  has  been  occupied,  and 
bestows  upon  her  the  girdle  and  ring. 

11th  Adventure.  The  wedding  festivities  finished,  Sieg- 
fried returns  to  Xanten  with  his  bride,  who  is  escorted 
thither  by  her  faithful  henchman  Ekkewart,  who  has  vowed 
to  follow  her  wherever  she  goes.  Siegfried's  parents  not 
only  receive  the  bride  cordially,  but  relinquish  their  throne 
to  the  young  couple,  who  live  together  most  happily  and 
are  overjoyed  at  the  advent  of  a  son. 

12th  Adventure.  Twelve  whole  years  elapse  ere  Brun- 
hild asks  Gunther  how  it  happens  his  vassal  Siegfried  has 
never  yet  come  to  "Worms  to  do  homage  ?  Although  Gunther 
now  assures  his  wife  Siegfried  is  a  king  in  his  own  right, 
she  nevertheless  insists  her  brother-in-law  and  his  wife 
should  be  invited  to  "Worms,  a  suggestion  which  Gunther 
is  only  too  glad  to  carry  out. 

13th  Adventure.  Overjoyed  at  the  prospect  of  revisit- 
ing the  scene  of  their  courtship,  Siegfried  and  Kriemhild 
return  to  "Worms,  leaving  their  infant  son  at  home,  but 
taking  with  them  Siegfried's  father  who  has  recently  lost 
his  wife.  To  honor  her  sister-in-law,  Brunhild  welcomes 
Kriemhild  with  the  same  state  that  heralded  her  own  en- 
trance at  Worms.  Banquets  and  tournaments  also  take 
place,  whereat  the  two  queens  try  to  outshine  each  other. 


334  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

One  day,  while  sitting  together  extolling  their  husband's 
virtues,  a  quarrel  arises,  during  which  Brunhild  curtly  in- 
forms Kriemhild  her  husband  can  scarcely  be  as  great  as  she 
pretends,  seeing  he  is  merely  Gunther's  vassal! 

14th  Adventure.  Of  course  Kriemhild  hotly  denies  this, 
and,  when  Brunhild  insists,  declares  she  will  prove  her  hus- 
band's  superiority  by. claiming  precedence  at  the  church 
door.  Instigated  by  wrath,  both  ladies  deck  themselves 
magnificently  and  arrive  simultaneously  to  attend  mass, 
escorted  by  imposing  trains.  Seeing  Kriemhild  make  a 
motion  as  if  to  enter  first,  Brunhild  bids  her  pause,  and 
the  two  ladies  begin  an  exchange  of  uncomplimentary  re- 
marks. In  the  heat  of  the  quarrel,  Kriemhild  insinuates 
that  Brunhild  granted  Siegfried  bridal  favors,  and  in  proof 
thereof  exhibits  Brunhild's  girdle  and  ring!  Brunhild 
immediately  sends  for  Gunther,  who,  helpless  between  t>vo 
angry  women,  summons  Siegfried.  Bluntly  declaring 
wives  should  be  kept  in  order,  Siegfried  undertakes  to  dis- 
cipline Kriemhild,  provided  Gunther  will  reduce  Brunhild 
to  subjection,  and  publicly  swears  he  never  approached 
the  Burgundian  queen  in  any  unseemly  way.  In  spite  of 
this  public  apology,  Brunhild  refuses  to  be  comforted,  and, 
as  her  husband  utterly  refuses  to  take  active  measures  to 
avenge  her,  she  finally  prevails  upon  her  kinsman  Hagen 
to  take  up  her  quarrel.  Under  the  mistaken  impression  that 
she  has  been  grievously  wronged  by  Siegfried,  Hagen  urges 
Gunther  to  attack  his  brother-in-law,  until  the  weak  king 
yields  to  the  pressure  thus  brought  to  bear  by  his  angry 
wife  and  kinsman. 

None  urged  the  matter  further,  except  that  Hagen  still 
Kept  ever  prompting  Gimther  the  guiltless  blood  to  spill; 
Saying,  that,  if  Siegfried  perish'd,  his  death  to  him  would  bring 
The  sway  o'er  many  a  kingdom.    Sore  mourn'd  the  wavering  king. 

IStJi  Adventure.  A  cunning  plan  is  now  devised  by 
Hagen  whereby  Siegfried  is  informed  that  the  monarchs 
he  once  conquered  have  again  risen  up  in  rebellion.  Of 
course  Siegfried  volunteers  to  subdue  them  once  more,  and 


THE  NIBELUNGENLIED  335 

Kriemhild,  hearing  he  is  about  to  start  for  war,  expresses 
great  anxiety  for  his  safety.  Under  pretext  of  sympathy, 
Hagen  inquires  why  Kriemhild  feels  any  dread,  seeing  her 
husband  is  invuhierable,  and  learns  the  secret  that  Sieg- 
fried can  be  injured  in  a  spot  between  his  shoulders,  be- 
cause a  lime-leaf,  sticking  fast  there,  prevented  the  dragon's 
blood  from  touching  that  spot.® 

"  So  now  I'll  tell  the  secret,  dear  friend,  alone  to  thee 
(For  thou,  I  doubt  not,  cousin,  will  keep  thy  faith  with  me). 
Where  sword  may  pierce  my  darling,  and  .death  sit  on  the  thrust. 
See,  in  thy  truth  and  honor  how  full,  how  firm  my  trust!  " 

Under  pretext  of  protecting  this  vuhierable  point,  Hagen 
persuades  Kriemhild  to  embroider  a  cross  on  her  husband's 
garment  over  the  fatal  spot.  Then,  sure  now  of  triumphing 
over  this  dreaded  foe,  he  feigns  the  kings  have  sent  word 
they  will  submit,  and  proposes  that  instead  of  fighting  they 
all  go  hunting  in  the  Odenwald. 

16th  Ad/venture.  Troubled  by  strange  presentiments, 
Kriemhild  tries  to  prevent  Siegfried  from  going  to  the 
chase,  but,  laughing  at  her  fears,  he  departs  joyfuUy, 
although  he  is  never  to  see  her  again.  After  describing 
the  game  slain  in  the  course  of  this  day's  hunt,  the  poet 
declares  Siegfried  captured  a  live  bear  and  playfully  let 
it  loose  in  camp,  to  the  horror  of  his  fellow  hunters.  Then, 
feeling  thirsty,  Siegfried  loudly  began  to  call  for  drink, 
and,  discovering  that  owing  to  a  mistake  the  wine  has 
been  conveyed  to  another  part  of  the  forest,  proposes  that 
he,  Gunther,  and  Hagen  should  race  to  a  neighboring  spring, 
undertaking  to  perform  the  feat  in  full  armor  while  his 
companions  run  in  light  undress.  Although  handicapped, 
Siegfried  arrives  first,  but  courteously  steps  aside  to  allow 
Gunther  to  take  a  drink,  pretending  he  wishes  to  remove 
his  armor  before  quenching  his  thirst.  But,  when  he,  in  his 
turn,  stoops  over  the  fountain,  Hagen,  after  slyly  remov- 
ing his  weapons  out  of  his  reach,  steals  up  behiad  him  and 
runs  a  spear  into  the  very  spot  where  the  embroidered  cross 
shines  on  his  doublet.    Mortally  wounded,  Siegfried  turns, 

'  See  the  author's  "  Legends  of  the  Rhine." 


336  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

and,  grasping  his  shield,  hurls  it  at  the  traitor  with  such 
f  oi;ce  that  he  dashes  it  to  pieces. 

E'en  to  the  death  though  wounded,  he  iurl'd  it  with  such  power 

That  the  whirling  buckler  scatter'd   vide  a  shower 

Of  the  most  precious  jewels,  then  straight  in  shivers  broke. 

Full  gladly  had  the  warrior  ta'en  vengeance  with  that  stroke. 

Sinking  to  the  ground  after  this  effort,  Siegfried  ex- 
pends his  last  breath  in  beseeching  Gunther  to  wateh  over 
his  wife.  Gazing  down  at  the  corpse,  Gunther,  afraid  to 
acknowledge  so  dastardly  a  deed,  suggests  they  spread  the 
report  that  Siegfried  was  slain  by  brigands  while  hunting 
alone  in  the  forest.  Hagen,  however,  proud  of  his  feat, 
does  not  intend  to  subscribe  to  this  project,  and  plots 
further  villainy  while  following  the  body  back  to  Worms. 

17th  Adventure.  The  funeral  train  arriving  there  at 
midnight,  Hagen  directs  the  bearers  to  lay  Siegfried's  body 
at  Kriemhild's  door,  so  that  she  may  stumble  over  it  when 
she  comes  out  at  dawn  on  her  way  to  mass.  On  perceiving 
that  the  dead  body  over  which  she  has  fallen  is  that  of  her 
beloved  spouse,  Kriemhild  faints.  While  her  women  raise  a 
mournful  cry. 

Roused  from  his  slumbers  by  the  terrible  news,  old 
Siegmund  joins  the  mourners,  and  he  and  the  Nibelung 
knights  carry  the  body  to  the  minster,  where  Kriemhild 
insists  all  those  who  took  part  in  the  hunt  shall  file  past  it, 
for  she  hopes  thereby  to  detect  her  husband's  murderer. 
(Mediaeval  tradition  averred  that  a  dead  man's  wounds 
bled  whenever  his  murderer  drew  near.)  Because  Sieg- 
fried's wounds  drop  blood  at  Hagen 's  touch,  Kriemhild 
publicly  denounces  him  as  her  husband's  slayer. 

It  is  a  mighty  marvel,  which  oft  e'en  now  we  spy, 
That,  when  the  blood-stain'd  murderer  comes  to  the  murder'd  nigh. 
The  wounds  break  out  a  bleeding,  then  too  the  same  befell. 
And  thus  could  each  beholder  the  guilt  of  Hagen  tell. 

But,  instead  of  showing  remorse,  Ha^en  boldly  proclaims 
he  merely  did  his  duty  when  he  slew  the  man  who  cast  a 
slur  upon  the  honor  of  his  queen. 

18th,  Adn^enture.    Having  laid  his  beloved  son  to  rest. 


THE  DEAD  SIGFRIED  BORNE  BACK  TO  WORMS 

FTom  the  painting  by  Th.  Pixis 


THE  NIBELUNGENLIED  337 

old  Siegmund  returns  home,  after  vainly  urging  Kriemhild 
to  leave  the  place  where  Siegfried  is  buried  and  return  to 
her  son,  for,  although  Kriemhild 's  mother  and  brothers 
try  to  show  her  every  mark  of  sympathy,  Brunhild  reveals 
no  pity. 

Meanwhile  aat  misproud  Brunhild  in  haughtiness  undieek'd; 

Of  Kriemhild's  tears  and  sorrows  her  it  nothing  reck'd. 

She  pitied  not  the  mourner;  she  stoop'd  not  to  the  low. 

Soon  Kriemhild  took  full  vengeance,  and  woe  repaid  with  woe. 

19th  Adventure.  Three  years  elapse  before  Hagen  sug- 
gests to  Gunther  that  his  sister  send  for  the  Nibelung  hoard 
which  was  given  her  on  her  marriage.  Intending  to  em- 
ploy it  to  buy  masses  and  avengers  for  Siegfried,  Kriem- 
hild gladly  consents,  and  we  are  told  twelve  wagons  travelled 
four  nights  and  days  to  convey  the  store  of  gold  from  the 
Nibelung  castle  to  the  sea,  whence  it  was  carried  to  Kriem- 
hild at  Worms.  With  such  a  treasure  at  her  disposal,  the 
widowed  queen  proceeds  to  win  so  many  adherents  that 
Hagen,  deeming  this  gold  may  prove  dangerous,  advises 
her  brothers  to  take  possession  of  it.  No  sooner  have  they 
done  so  than,  fearing  lest  they  may  restore  it  to  Kriemhild, 
Hagen  buries  it  in  the  Rhine,  telling  none  but  his  masters 
in  what  place  it  is  hidden. 

20th  Ad/venture.  Having  lost  his  first  wife,  Etzel,  king 
of  Hungary,  now  deems  it  advisable  to  marry  again  and 
secure  an  heir  to  his  realm.  As  no  other  woman  seems  so 
fitted  for  so  exalted  a  station  as  Kriemhild,  Etzel  sends 
his  chief  nobleman,  Rudiger,  to  Worms  with  his  proposal. 
After  tarrying  a  few  days  on  the  way  with  his  wife  and 
daughter,  this  ambassador  hurries  to  Worms,  where  he  is 
welcomed  by  Hagen,  who  had  formerly  spent  several  years 
as  a  hostage  at  Etzel 's  court.  Rudiger  having  made  his 
errand  known,  Gunther  beseeches  three  days'  time  to  ascer- 
tain his  sister's  wishes.  Mattered  by  the  prospect  of  such 
an  alliance,  Gunther  hopes  Kriemhild  will  accept  Etzel 's 
proposal,  but  Hagen  rejoins  that  should  she  secure  such 
powerful  allies,  she  might  in  time  punish  thsm  for  Sieg- 

22 


388  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

fried 's  death.  At  first  the  widowed  Kriemhild  refuses  to 
listen  to  Etzel's  offers,  but,  when  Eudiger  swears  to  avenge 
her  past  or  future  Ilk,  she  suddenly  announces  her  consent. 

Then  swore  to  her  Sir  Eudiger  and  all  his  knightly  train 
To  serve  her  ever  truly,  and  all  her  rights  maintain, 
Nor  e^er  of  her  due  honors  scant  her  in  Etzel's  land. 
Thereto  gave  the  good  margrave  th'  assurance  of  his  hand. 

Then  thought  the  faithful  mourner,  "with  such  a  host  of  friends 
Now  the  poor  lonely  widow  may  work  her  secret  ends. 
Nor  care  for  what  reflections  the  world  on  her  may  cast. 
What  if  my  lost  beloved  I  may  revenge  at  last?  " 

Then,  still  escorted  by  the  faithful  Ekkewart  and  carry- 
ing off  with  her  the  small  portion  of  the  Nibelungen  treasure 
which  she  still  retains,  Kriemhild  starts  out  for  Hungary. 

21st  Adventure.  The  three  Burgundian  princes  escort 
their  sister  to  the  Danube  and,  taking  leave  of  her  there, 
allow  her  to  proceed  with  Eudiger  to  Passau,  where  her 
uncle,  Bishop  Pilgrin,  gives  her  a  warm  welcome.  Thence 
the  travellers  proceed  to  Eudiger 's  castle,  where  his  wife 
and  daughter  entertain  their  future  queen,  who  bestows 
upon  them  costly  treasures.  Eesuming  her  journey,  Kriem- 
hild is  now  met  on  all  sides  by  the  ovations  of  her  future 
subjects, 

23d  Adventure.  When  Etzel  and  his  chief  noblemen 
finally  meet  her,  Kriemhild  courteously  kisses  her  future 
spouse,  as  well  as  the  men  whom  he  points  out  as  worthy 
of  such  distinction.  Among  these  is  Dietrich  of  Bern, 
one  of  the  heroes  of  the  poem,  and  it  is  under  his  escort 
that  the  king  and  queen  of  Hungary  proceed  to  Vienna, 
where  their  marriage  festivities  last  seventeen  days. 

23d  Adventure.  Seven  years  elapse,  and,  although 
Kriemhild  has  a  son  by  Etzel,  she  still  grieves  for  Sieg- 
fried and  continually  broods  over  her  wrongs.  One  day 
she  suddenly  suggests  that  King  Etzel  invite  her  kinsmen 
to  Hungary,  and,  when  he  consents,  gives  special  instruc- 
tions to  the  bards  who  bear  the  message  to  make  sure  that 
Hagen  accompanies  her  brothers. 

24th  Adventure.      After  fourteen  days*  journey  the 


THE  NIBELUNGENLIED  339 

minstrels  reach.  Worms  and  deliver  their  message.  All  are 
in  favor  of  accepting  this  invitation  save  Hagen,  who  re- 
marks that  such  friendliness  seems  suspicious.  When  his 
master  retorts  a  guilty  conscience  harbors  fear,  Hagen 
stoutly  avers  he  is  ready  to  serve  as  guide,  suggesting,  how- 
ever, that  they  journey  fully  armed,  with  an  escort  of  a 
thousand  men,  so  as  to  cope  with  treachery  should  such 
occur. 

"Turn,  while  there's  time  for  safety,  turn,  warriors  most  and 
least; 
For  this,  and  for  this  only,  you're  bidden  to  the  feast. 
That  you  perforce  may  perish  in  Etzel's  bloody  land. 
Whoever  rideth  thither.  Death  ias  he  close  at  hand." 

25th  Adventure.  Dismissed  with  the  old  queen's  bless- 
ing, the  Burgundians  leave  Brunhild  and  her  son  in  charge 
of  a  steward,  and  set  out.  As  they  are  now  sole  possessors 
of  the  great  Nibelung  hoard,  the  poet  terms  them  Nibelungs 
in  the  remainder  of  his  work.  Under  the  guidance  of 
Hagen,  who  alone  knows  the  way,  the  party  reaches  the 
banks  of  the  Danube,  where,  finding  no  vessels  to  ferry 
them  across,  Hagen  bids  them  wait  until  he  provide  means 
of  transportation.  Walking  down  the  river,  he  surprises 
three  swan-maidens  bathing,  and  by  capturing  their  gar- 
ments induces  them  to  predict  the  future.  Although  one 
promises  him  all  manner  of  pleasant  things  to  recover  her 
plumes,  her  companions,  having  secured  theirs,  warn  Hagen 
that  none  but  the  priest  will  return  safely  to  Burgundy, 
and  inform  him  that  he  can  secure  a  boat  by  assuring  the 
ferry-man  on  the  opposite  bank  that  his  name  is  Amalung. 

Thanks  to  this  hint,  Hagen  induces  the  ferry-man  to 
cross  the  river  and  springs  into  his  boat,  before  the  man, 
discovering  the  trick,  attacks  him  with  his  oar.  Forced  to 
defend  himself,  Hagen  slays  the  ferry-man,  takes  possession 
of  his  boat,  and  then  proceeds  to  convey  relays  of  the 
Burgundian  army  across  the  river.  During  his  last  trip, 
perceiving  the  chaplain  on  board  and  wishing  to  give  the 
lie  to  the  swan-maidens'  prophecy,  Hagen  flings  the  priest 


340  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

into  the  water;  but  the  long  ecclesiastical  garments  buoy 
up  their  wearer  and  enable  him  to  regain  the  bank  which 
he  has  just  left,  whence  he  makes  his  way -back  to  Burgundy. 
On  perceiving  the  priest's  escape,  Hagen  realizes  none  of 
the  rest  will  return,  so  grimly  destroys  the  boat  as  soon 
as  he  is  through  with  it.  Then  he  directs  his  friends  to  ride 
onward,  leaving  him  to  guard  their  rear,  for  he  knows  the 
boatman's  friends  will  pursue  and  attack  them. 

26th,  Adventure.  Although  Hagen 's  apprehensions  are 
soon  justified,  the  Burgundians  fight  so  bravely  that  their 
assailants  are  defeated.  A  little  farther  on  they  find  a  man 
sleeping  by  the  roadside,  and  discover  it  is  Ekkewart,  lying 
in  wait  to  warn  them  that  Kriemhild  cherishes  evil  in- 
tentions. But,  undeterred  by  this  warning  also,  the  Bur- 
gundians continue  their  journey,  and  visit  Bishop  Pilgrin 
and  Rudiger  on  their  way. 

27th  Adventure.  While  at  Eudiger's, — ^where  the  ladies 
welcome  all  save  Hagen  with  a  kiss,  and  where  the  host 
lavishes  gifts  upon  his  guests, — Hagen  suggests  that  a 
marriage  be  arranged  between  Giseler,  the  youngest  Bur- 
gundian  prince,  and  Eudiger's  daughter.  In  compliance 
with  this  suggestion,  a  formal  betrothal  takes  place. 

Then  had  the  bride  and  bridegroom  within  a  ring  to  stand. 
For  such  was  then  the  custom;  a  merry  stripling  band 
Encircled  the  fair  couple,  and  gaz'd  on  them  their  fill. 
And  thought  the  while  as  idly  as  think  young  people  still. 

This  ceremony  over,  Eudiger  prepares  to  guide  the 
Burgundians  to  Btzel's  court,  where  Kriemhild  is  rejoic- 
ing to  think  they  will  soon  appear. 

28th  Adventure.  So  patent  are  Kriemhild 's  evil  in- 
tentions, that  Dietrich  of  Bern  and  his  faithful  henchman 
Hildebrand  also  caution  the  Burgundians  to  be  on  their 
guard.  This  second  warning  impresses  the  visitors,  who 
at  Hagen 's  suggestion  announce  they  will  retain  their 
weapons  for  three  days.  When  they  arrive  at  the  palace, 
Kriemhild  cordially  embraces  her  youngest  brother,  but 
refuses  the  same  welcome  to  the  two  others,  and  grimly 


THE  NIBELUNGENLIED  341 

a^is  Hagen  whether  he  has  brought  her  gold.  When  he 
bluntly  rejoins  her  treasures  will  remain  in  the  Rhine  until 
Doomsday,  she  abruptly  turns  her  back  upon  him,  and  in- 
vites the  rest  to  enter  the  palace,  leaving  their  arms  at  the 
door.  Thereupon  Hagen  announces  his  masters  have  vowed 
to  spend  the  next  three  days  in  arms,  a  measure  which 
Dietrich  openly  approves,  informing  Kriemhild  to  her  very 
face  that  he  is  sure  she  means  no  good. 

29th  Adventure.  Although  the  three  royal  brothers 
accompany  Kriemhild  into  the  palace,  Hagen  lingers  at 
the  door,  and,  inviting  the  minstrel  Volker  to  sit  on  the 
bench  beside  him,  confides  to  him  his  fears,  entreating  him 
to  stand  by  him,  and  promising  to  do  the  same  in  his  behalf 
should  the  need  occur. 

"  Tell  me  now,  friend  Volker,  will  you  stand  me  by. 
If  these  men  of  Kriemhild's  would  my  mettle  try? 
Show  me,  if  you  love  me,  faithful  friend  and  true! 
And  when  you  need  my  service  I'll  do  as  much  for  you." 

On  seeing  her  foe  so  close  at  hand,  Kriemhild  summons 
four  hundred  warriors,  and  bids  them  attack  Hagen,  for  at 
present  he  is  the  only  one  against  whom  she  has  sinister 
designs.  To  prove  to  the  men  that  Hagen  is  guilty,  she 
offers  to  meet  and  question  her  foe  in  their  presence.  On 
seeing  her  coming,  Volker  suggests  they  rise  in  token  of 
respect,  but  Hagen  grimly  rejoins  Kriemhild  would  merely 
take  such  politeness  as  a  proof  of  weakness.  Instead  of 
rising,  he  therefore  ostentatiously  lays  Siegfried's  sword 
across  his  lap.  After  taunting  Hagen  with  slaying  her 
husband, — a  charge  he  does  not  deny, — ^Kriemhild  orders 
her  men  to  slay  him,  but  a  single  glance  of  his  fiery  eyes 
sends  them  back  cringing,  and  the  queen  cannot  prevail 
upon  them  to  renew  the  attack.  Seeing  this,  Volker  and 
Hagen  boldly  join  their  friends  in  the  banquet-hall,  where 
Btzel — who  is  depicted  as  an  inoffensive,  unsuspicious  old 
man — cordially  bids  them  welcome. 

30th  Adventure.  On  their  way  to  their  sleeping  quarters 
that  night,  the  Burgundians  are  jostled  by  some  Huns,  who, 
instigated  by  Kriemhild,  are  evidently  seeking  to  provoke  a 


342  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

quarrel.  In  spite  of  their  efforts,  however,  the  Burgundians 
reach  their  dormitory  ia  safety,  where  Hagen  and  Volker 
watch  all  night  at  the  door  to  guard  against  surprise.  It 
is  well  for  them  they  do  so,  because  at  midnight  Kriemhild 
dispatches  a  force  to  attack  them,  but  again  the  Huns 
shriak  away  appalled  on  meeting  Hagen 's  menacing  glance. 

31st  Ad/venture.  At  dawn  the  Burgundians,  still  fully 
armed,  march  off  to  church,  and  after  service  proceed  with 
the  king  and  queen  to  view  a  tournament  held  in  their 
honor.  In  these  games  Rudiger  and  Dietrich  both  refuse 
to  take  part,  lest  an  accident  should  occur.  Their  pre- 
visions are  justified,  for,  when  Volker  inadvertently  slays 
a  Hun,  Kriemhild  loudly  clamors  for  vengeance,  although 
her  husband  implores  that  peace  be  maintained.  Fomented 
by  Kriemhild 's  secret  efforts,  such  bad  feelings  have  arisen 
among  the  Huns  against  their  guests,  that  Etzel's  own 
brother  finally  undertakes  to  compass  their  death.  Mean- 
time the  old  king,  having  invited  the  Burgundians  to  a 
banquet,  is  surprised  to  see  the  princes  arrive  fully  armed, 
but  tries  to  show  his  friendship  by  promising  they  shaU 
bring  up  his  son. 

32d  Adventure.  While  the  Burgundians  are  banqueting 
with  the  king  of  Hungary,  their  men  are  resting  in  the 
hall  where  they  slept,  under  the  charge  of  Dankwart, 
Hagen 's  brother.  There  they  are  suddenly  attacked  by 
some  Huns,  and,  although  they  manage  to  slay  most  of 
their  first  assailants,  the  deaths  they  deal  kindle  lasting 
animosity  in  the  breast  of  the  rest  of  the  Huns.  New 
forces  therefore  press  into  the  haU,  until  all  the  Bur- 
gundians are  slain,  save  Dankwart,  who,  cutting  his  way 
through  the  enemy's  serried  ranks,  rushes  into  the  hall 
where  his  brother  is  feasting,  and  reports  what  has  occurred. 

"  Be  stirring,  brother  Hagen,  you're  sitting  all  too  long. 
To  you  and  God  in  heaven  our  deadly  strait  I  plain; 
Yeomen  and  knights  together  lie  in  their  quarters  slain." 

33d  Adventure.  No  sooner  has  this  cry  reached  his  ear, 
than  Hagen,  whipping  out  his  sword,  cuts  off  the  head  of 


THE  NIBELUNGENLIED  343 

Etzel's  child,  which  bounces  into  its  nwJther's  lap.  Then, 
calling  to  his  brother  to  prevent  any  escape,  Hagen  shears 
off  the  hand  of  the  minstrel  who  invited  them  to  Hungary, 
before  he  begins  slashing  right  and  left.  Paralyzed  by 
the  sight  of  their  headless  son,  Etzel  and  Kriemhild  sit 
immovable  on  their  thrones,  while  Hagen  despatches  Volker 
to  help  Dankwart  guard  the  door,  and  bids  his  masters 
make  use  of  their  weapons  while  they  may.  Although  the 
Burgundians  now  slay  ruthlessly,  mindful  of  the  kind- 
ness shown  by  Dietrich  and  Rudiger  they  refrain  from 
attacking  them  or  their  men.  When  these  noblemen  there- 
fore beg  permission  to  pass  out  safely  with  their  friends, 
their  request  is  unquestionably  granted.  Grasping  the  king 
and  queen  by  the  hand,  Dietrich  then  leads  them  out  of  the 
hall,  closely  followed  by  Rudiger  and  their  respective  men, 
while  the  Burgundians  continue  the  massacre  until  not  a 
living  foe  is  left  in  the  hall. 

34th  Adventure.  Weary  of  slaughter,  the  Burgundians 
now  sit  down  for  a  moment  to  rest,  but,  finding  the  presence 
of  so  many  corpses  distasteful,  they  fling  §even  hundred 
victims  down  the  steps,  those  who  are  merely  wounded  being 
killed  by  the  fall.  The  Huns,  who  come  to  pick  up  their 
dead,  now  set  up  so  loud  and  persistent  a  cry  for  revenge, 
that  their  monarch  is  compelled  to  prepare  a  force  to  oust 
the  Burgundians  from  his  banquet-hall.  Seeing  the  aged 
monarch  himself  advance  at  the  head  of  the  troops,  Hagen, 
who  guards  the  door,  loudly  jeers  at  him,  whereupon  Krirai- 
hild  offers  an  immense  reward  to  any  one  who  will  bring 
her  his  head. 

35th  'Adventure.  The  first  to  try  to  earn  this  guerdon 
is  a  Dane,  who  not  only  succeeds  in  entering  the  hall  but 
in  effecting  a  retreat.  When,  emboldened  by  this  first  suc- 
cess, he  advances  a  second  time  with  a  new  force,  he  is 
killed  as  well  as  his  men. 

36th  Adventure.  After  a  second  brief  rest,  the  Bur- 
gundians prepare  to  meet  a  new  assault  directed  by  Kriem- 
hild, whose  wrath  now  involves  all  her  kinsmen,  although 
at  first  she  meditated  the  death  of  Hagen  alone.     The 


344  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

murder  of  his  child  has  incensed  even  Eteel,  and  the  Huns 
plan  a  general  massacre  to  avenge  their  slain.  Although 
the  Burgundians  offer  to  meet  Etzel's  forces  in  fair  fight, 
provided  they  can  return  home  unmolested  if  victorious, 
Kriemhild  urges  her  husband  to  refuse  unless  Hagen  is 
delivered  up  to  their  tender  mercies.  Deeming  it  dishonor- 
able to  forsake  a  companion,  the  Burgundians  reject  these 
terms,  whereupon  Kriemhild,  whose  fury  has  reached  a 
frantic  point,  orders  the  hall  set  on  fire. 

Although  the  queen  fancies  the  Burgundians  will  be 
roasted  alive,  the  hall  being  built  of  stone  offers  them  a 
place  of  refuge,  and,  as  they  quench  in  blood  all  the  sparks 
that  enter,  they  succeed  in  maintaining  their  position. 

'T  was  'vrell  for  the  Burgundians  that  vaulted  was  the  roof; 
This  was,  in  all  their  danger,  the  more  to  their  behoof. 
Only  about  the  windows  from  fire  they  suffer'd  sore. 
Still,  as  their  spirit  impell'd  them,  themselves  they  bravely  bore. 

The  intensity  of  the  heat  causes  such  thirst,  however,  that 
Hagen  bids  his  companions  quench  that  too  in  the  blood 
of  the  slain.  Thus,  six  hundred  Burgundians  are  found 
alive  when  a  new  Hungarian  force  bursts  into  the  hall. 

37th,  Adventure.  Having  failed  in  this  third  attempt, 
Kriemhild  reminds  Eudiger  of  his  solemn  oath,  and  bids 
him  redeem  his  promise  by  slaying  the  Burgundians. 
Although  this  nobleman  pleads  with  the  queen,  offering  in- 
stead to  relinquish*  aU?  he  owns  and  leave  her  land  a  beggar, 
she  insists  upon  his  obedience  to  her  commands.  Fully 
armed,  Eudiger,  therefore,  finally  marches  toward  the  hall 
and,  arriving  at  the  foot  of  the  staircase,  explains  his  posi- 
tion to  the  Burgundians.  Knowing  his  generosity,  Hagen, 
whose  shield  has  been  cut  to  pieces,  begs  for  the  one  Eudiger 
carries,  and,  after  receiving  it,  declares  he  will  give  a  good 
account  of  himself  before  he  yields.  The  signal  for  battle 
is  then  given  and  Eudiger  and  his  men  enter  the  hall,  where, 
after  many  have  fallen  on  both  sides,  Gemot,  one  of  Kriem- 
hild's  brothers,  and  Eudiger  slay  each  other. 

38th  Adventure.    A  new  batch  of  corpses  having  been 


THE  NIBELUNGENLIED  345 

flung  down  stairs,  such  a  lament  arises  anuong  the  Huns 
that  Dietrich  of  Bern  inquires  what  it  may  mean.  On 
learning  that  Rudiger  has  been  slain,  Dietrich  bids  Hilde- 
brand  go  and  claim'  his  corpse,  but,  instead  of  acting  merely 
as  ambassador,  this  warrior  first  bandies  words  with  Volker 
and  then  slays  him.  Seeing  .this,  Hagen  drives  him  down 
the  stairs,  and  discovers  that  all  the  Burgundians  have  now 
been  slain,  and  that  he  and  Gunther  alone  remain  alive 
in  the  hall.  Meantime  Hildebrand  having  reported  to 
Dietrich  all  that  has  occurred,  this  chief,  hearing  most  of 
his  men  have  perished,  sallies  forth  to  avenge  them. 

39th  Adventure.  On  approaching  the  hall,  Dietrich 
summons  Hagen  and  Gunther  to  surrender,  promising  to 
use  his  influence  to  secure  their  safe  return  home ;  but  the 
two  Burgundians,  feeling  sure  Kriemhild  will  show  no 
mercy,  refuse  to  yield.  A  duel,  therefore,  takes  place  be- 
tween Dietrich  and  the  exhausted  Hagen,  in  the  course  of 
which,  by  means  of  a  sudden  feint,  Dietrich  seizes  and  binds 
his  foe.  Then,  leading  him  to  Kriemhild,  he  implores  her 
to  be  merciful  to  this  prisoner,  while  he  returns  to  secure 
Gunther  also. 

"  Fair  and  noble  Kriemhild,"  thus  Sir  Dietrich  spake, 
"Spare  this  captive  warrior  who  full  amends  will  make 

For  all  his  past  transgressions;  him  here  in  bonds  you  see; 

Revenge  not  on  the  fetter'd  th'  offences  of  the  free." 

While  Dietrich  is  securing  Gunther  in  the  same  way, 
the  queen,  left  alone  with  Hagen,  again  demands  her  treas- 
ures. Hagen  rejoins  that,  having  promised  never  to  reveal 
their  hiding-place  as  long  as  his  lords  live,  he  cannot  reveal 
the  secret  to  her.  Hearing  this  statement,  Kriemhild,  whose 
cruelty  now  knows  no  bounds,  orders  Gunther — ^her  last 
brother — slain,  and  herself  carries  his  head  to  Hagen,  as 
proof  there  ia  no  more  reason  for  guarding  the  secret. 
Proudly  informing  her,  since  it  now  depends  upon  him 
alone,  it  will  remain  secret  forever,  Hagen  so  exasperates 
Kriemhild  that,  drawing  from  its  scabbard  the  sword  which 
once  belonged  to  Siegfried,  she  hews  off  her  prisoner's  head 


346  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

with  one  revengeful  stroke !  Although  neither  her  husband 
nor  Hildebrand  have  been  quick  enough  to  forestaU  this 
crime,  the  latter  is  so  exasperated  by  Kriemhild's  cruelty 
that  he  now  slays  her  in  his  turn. 

Hildebrand  the  aged,  fierce  on  Kriemhild  sprung; 

To  the  death  he  smote  her  as  his  sword  he  swung. 

Sudden  and  remorseless  he  his  wrath  did  wreak. 

What  could  then  avail   her  her  fearful  thrilling  shriek? 

It  is,  therefore,  in  the  presence  of  her  corpse  that  Dietrich 
and  Etzel  utter  the  loud  lament  with  which  the  Nibelungen- 
lied  closes. 

There  is,  however,  another  poem  called  the  Nibelungen- 
klage,  or  the  Lament  of  the  Nibelungs,  wherein  Etzel, 
Dietrich,  Hildebrand,  Bishop  Pilgrin,  and  the  rest  utter 
successive  laments  over  the  slain.  Then  the  spoil  of  the 
Burgundians  is  sent  back  to  "Worms,  where  these  lamenta- 
tions are  continued,  each  mourner  reciting  the  deeds  of  the 
man  whose  fate  he  bewails.  This  poem  is,  however,  greatly 
inferioB  to  the  real  Nibelungenlied,  and  was  evidently  not 
composed  by  the  same  bard. 

"  'T  is  more  than  I  can  tell  you  what  afterward  befell. 
Save  that  there  was  weeping  for  friends  belov'd  so  well 
Knights  and  squires,  dames  and  damsels,  were  seen  lamenting  all. 
So  here  I  end  my  story.    This  is  the  Nibelungers'  Fall. 

STORY  OF  THE  HOLY  GRAIL 

The  Anglo-Norman  trouveres  rightly  considered  the 
Story  of  the  Holy  Grail  the  central  point  of  interest  of 
the  Arthurian  cycle,  or  the  grand  climax  in  the  legend. 

So  many  versions  of  the  tale  have  been  written  by  poets 
of  dififerent  nationalities  and  different  ages — all  of  whom 
have  added  characteristic  touches  to  the  story — that,  in- 
stead of  following  the  text  of  any  one  particular  version, 
a  general  outline  of  the  two  principal  Holy  Grail  legends 
will  be  given  here.  Although  all  the  poets  do  not  mention 
the  origin  of  the  Holy  Grail,  or  sacred  vessel,  a  few  trace 
its  'history  back  to  the  very  beginning.     They  claim  that 


STORY  OP  THE  HOLY  GRAIL  347 

when  Lucifer  stood  next  to  the  Creator,  or  Father,  in  the 
heavenly  hierarchy,  the  other  angels  presented  him  with 
a  wonderful  crown,  whose  central  jewel  was  a  flawless 
emerald  of  unusual  size. 

The  advent  of  the  Son,  relegating  Lucifer  to  the  third 
instead  of  the  second  place,  occasioned  his  apostasy,  which, 
as  Milton  explains,  was  followed  by  war  in  heaven  and  by 
the  expulsion  of  the  rebel  angels.  During  his  fall  from 
the  heights  of  heaven  to  the  depths  of  hell,  the  emerald, 
dropping  out  of  Satan's  crown,  fell  upon  earth.  There  it 
was  fashioned  into  the  cup  or  dish  which  Our  Lord  used 
during  the  Last  Supper,  and  in  which  Joseph  of  Arimathea 
caught  a  few  drops  of  blood  which  flowed  from  His  side. 
After  the  Crucifixion  the  Jews  walled  Joseph  alive  in  a 
prison,  where  he  was  sustained  in  good  health  and  spirits 
by  the  Holy  Grail,  which  he  had  taken  with  him.  In  this 
prison  Joseph  lingered  until  Vespasian,  hearing  the  story 
of  Christ's  passion,  sent  messengers  to  Palestine  for  relies, 
hoping  they  might  cure  his  son  Titus  of  leprosy.  Restored 
to  health  by  the  sight  of  St.  Veronica's  handkerchief, — 
which  had  wiped  away  the  bloody  sweat  from  Our  Lord's 
brow  and  bore  the  imprint  of  his  feature, — Titus  proceeded 
to  Jerusalem,  where  he  summoned  the  Jews  to  produce  the 
body  of  Christ.  Not  being  able  to  comply,  they  accused 
Joseph  of  having  stolen  it.  Thereupon  Titus,  continuing 
his  investigations,  found  Joseph  alive  and  well  in  the  prison 
where  he  was  supposed  to  have  perished.  Free  once  more, 
yet  dreading  further  persfecution,  Joseph  embarked,  with 
his  sister  and  brother-in-law  Brons,  in  a  vessel  bound  for 
Marseilles,  the  Holy-  Grail  supplying  all  their  needs  during 
the  journey.  On  landing  in  France,  Joseph  was  divinely 
instructed  to  construct  a  table,  around  which  he  and  his 
companions  could  be  seated,  and  where  the  Holy  Grail  sup- 
plied each  guest  with  the  food  he  preferred.  But  one  seat 
at  this  table,  in  memory  of  Judas,  was  to  remain  empty 
until  a  sinless  man  came  to  occupy  it.  A  sinner,  once 
attempting  to  seat  himself  in  it,  was  swallowed  up  by  the 
earth,  and  Joseph  was  informed  that  the  enchanter  Merlin 


348  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

would  in  time  make  a  similar  table,  where  a  descendant  of 
Brons  would  have  the  honor  of  occupying  this  "Siege 
Perilous."  From  Marseilles,  by  gradual  stages,  and  meet- 
ing with  every  kind  of  adventure  on  the  way,  Joseph,  or 
his  descendants,  conveyed  the  Holy  Grail  to  Glastonbury, 
in  England,  where  it  remained  visible  lontil  people  became 
too  sinful  for  it  to  dwell  any  more  in  their  midst.  It  was 
then  borne  off  to  Sarras,  an  island  city, — ^presumably  located 
in  the  Mediterranean, — ^where,  according  to  one  legend. 
King  Evelake  mounted  guard  over  the  treasure. 

According  to  another  legend,  a  pilgrim  knight  laid  a 
golden  cross  on  the  Holy  Sepulchre,  ardently  praying  for 
a  son,  whom  at  his  birth  he  named  Titurel  and  dedicated 
to  the  service  of  the  Lord.  After  this  Titurel  had  spent 
years  in  warfare  against  the  Saracens  and  in  doing  good 
to  the  poor,  an  angel  announced  to  him  that  he  had  been 
chosen  to  guard  the  Holy  Grail,  which  was  about  to  descend 
once  more  to  earth,  and  take  up  its  abode  on  Montsalvatch. 
This  vision  suflSeed  to  send  Titurel  off  on  a  quest  for  the 
Holy  Mountain, — ^which  some  authorities  identify  with  the 
place  of  the  same  name  on  the  east  coast  of  Spain, — 
whither  he  was  safely  led  by  a  guiding  cloud. 

After  ascending  the  steep  mountain,  Titurel  was  fav- 
ored with  a  glimpse  of  the  Holy  Grail,  and  he  and  a  number 
of  knights — also  brought  thither  by  miraculous  means — 
erected  a  marvellous  temple,  whose  foundations  were  laid 
by  the  angels,  who  labored  at  the  edifice  while  the  volunteer 
builders  were  at  rest.  In  a  marvellously  short  time  a  temple 
of  transcendent  beauty  was  thus  finished,  and,  as  soon  as 
it  was  consecrated,  the  Holy  Grail  stole  down  from  heaven 
on  a  beam  of  celestial  light,  to  abide  in  its  midst.  Titurel, 
king  and  guardian  of  the  Holy  Grail,  always  presided  at 
the  table  around  which  his  knights  gathered,  and  where 
one  and  all  were  miraculously  fed.  Besides,  there  appeared 
from  time  to  time  on  the  edge  of  the  sacred  vase,  in  letters 
of  fire,  instructions  bidding  a  knight  go  out  into  the  world 
to  defend  some  innocent  person  or  right  some  wrong.  The 
Knights  of  the  Holy  Grail,  or  Templars,  as  they  were  in- 


STORY  OF  THE  HOLY  GRAIL  349 

differently  styled,  then  immediately  sallied  forth  to  fulfil 
this  behest,  which  according  to  their  vows  had  to  be  accom- 
plished without  revealing  their  name  or  origin.  Once  the 
command  was  that  Titurel  should  marry,  whereupon  he 
wooed  a  Spanish  maiden,  by  whom  he  had  a  son  and  daugh- 
ter. This  son,  marrying  in  the  same  way,  had  in  time  two 
sons  and  three  daughters,  one  of  whom  became  the  mother 
of  Parzival. 

Old  and  weary  of  reigning,  Titurel  finally  resigned  the 
care  of  the  Holy  Grail,  first  to  his  son, — who  was  slain  in 
war, — and  then  to  his  grandson  Amfortas.  But  the  latter 
proved  restless  also,  went  out  into  the  world,  and,  instead 
of  serving  the  Holy  Grail,  lived  a  life  of  pleasure  and  ad- 
venture. "Wounded  by  a  thrust  from  a  poisoned  lance, — 
some  authors  claim  it  was  the  one  which  wounded  the 
Saviour's  side, — ^Amfortas  sadly  returned  to  Montsalvatch, 
where  the  mere  thought  of  the  veiled  Holy  Grail  increased 
his  pain  by  intensifying  his  remorse.  There,  one  day,  he 
read  on  the  rim  of  the  cup,  that  his  wound  was  destined  to 
be  healed  by  a  guileless  fool,  who  would  accidentally  climb 
the  mountain  and,  moved  by  sympathy,  would  inquire  the 
cause  of  his  suffering  and  thereby  make  it  cease. 

We  have  already  mentioned  the  fact  that  Parzival  was 
a  great-grandson  of  Titurel ;  his  mother,  fearing  he  would 
die  young,  like  his  father,  were  he  to  become  a  knight, 
brought  him  up  in  seclusion,  telling  him  nothing  about 
knights,  fighting,  or  the  world.  Straying  in  the  forest  one 
day  this  youth  encountered  a  couple  of  knights,  whom  he 
mistook  for  angels,  owing  to  their  bright  array,  and  offered 
to  worship.  The  knights,  however,  refused  his  homage,  and 
good-naturedly  advised  him  to  hasten  to  Arthur's  court 
and  learn  to  become  a  knight  too. 

Parzival  now  left  his  mother, — ^who  died  of  grief,— went 
to  court  (meeting  sundry  adventures  on  the  way),  and 
there  asked  to  be  knighted.  He  was  told,  however,  he  must 
first  procure  a  horse  and  armor,  whereupon  he  followed 
and  slew  an  insolent  knight  who  defied  King  Arthur.  But 
Parzival  did  not  know  how  to  remove  the  armor  from  his 


350  THE  BOOK  OP  THE  EPIC 

dead  foe,  until  a  passing  knight  obligingly  showed  him  how 
it  was  done. 

Parzival  now  spent  a  time  of  apprenticeship  at  court, 
where  he  learned  among  other  things,  that  a  knight  should 
never  be  unduly  inquisitive,  then  went  to  the  rescue  of  a 
persecuted  and  virtuous  queen,  whom  he  wooed  and  mar- 
ried. He  soon  left  her,  however,  to  visit  his  mother,  of 
whose  death  he  was  not  aware.  On  his  way  home  Parzival 
came  to  a  lake,  where  a  richly  dressed  fisherman  informed 
him  he  might  find  a  night's  lodging  in  the  castle  on  the 
hill,  where  he  offered  to  conduct  him.  Thus  Parzival  pene- 
trated into  the  castle  on  Montsalvatch  and  was  duly  led 
into  the  banqueting  hall.  Awed  by  the  splendor  of  his  sur- 
roundings, the  young  candidate  for  knighthood  silently 
noted  that  his  host  seemed  to  be  suffering  from  a  secret 
wound,  and  perceived  that  all  the  other  guests  were  op- 
pressed by  overwhelming  sadness.  Then  suddenly  the  doors 
opened  wide,  and  a  strange  procession  entered  the  hall, 
slowly  circled  around  the  table,  and  again  passed  out!  In 
this  procession  marched  a  servant  bearing  a  bloody  lance,  at 
the  sight  of  which  all  present  groaned,  then  came  maidens 
carrying  the  stand  for  the  Holy  Grail,  which  was  reverently 
brought  in  by  Titurel's  grand-daughter.  The  vase  was,  how- 
ever, closely  veiled,  and  it  was  only  after  repeated  en- 
treaties from  the  knights  present  that  the  host  unveiled  it, 
uttering  the  while  heart-rending  groans. 

All  present  were  now  served  with  the  food  they  most 
desired,  which  they  ate  in  silence,  and  then  the  knights 
marched  out  of  the  hall,  gazing  reproachfully  at  Parzival, 
who  silently  wondered  what  all  this  might  mean.  His 
hunger  sated,  Parzival  was  conducted  to  luxurious  sleeping 
apartments,  but,  when  he  was  ready  to  leave  on  the  morrow, 
all  the  castle  seemed  deserted,  and  it  was  only  when  he  had 
crossed  the  drawbridge  and  it  had  been  raised  behind  him, 
that  a  harsh  voice  was  heard  vehemently  cursing  him. 
Shortly  after,  on  learning  that  a  sympathetic  inquiry  would 
have  dispelled  the  gloom  in  the  palace,  he  had  just  left, 
Parzival  attempted  to  return,  but  the  mysterious  castle  was 


STORY  OF  THE  HOLY  GRAH.  351 

no  longer  to  be  found.  Sueh  was  our  hero's  remorse  for  hia 
sin  of  omission  that  he  continued  the  quest  for  years,  doing 
meanwhile  all  manner  of  noble  and  heroic  deeds.  In  re- 
ward, he  was  knighted  by  Arthur  himself,  and  bidden  by 
Merlin  occupy  "the  Siege  Perilous"  where  his  name  sud- 
denly appeared  in  letters  of  gold. 

Our  version  of  the  story  explains  that,  just  as  he  was 
about  to  sit  down  in  the  Siege  Perilous,  the  witch  Kundrie 
arrived,  and  hotly  denounced  him  as  an  unfeeling  wretch, 
a  sufficient  reminder  to  make  Parzival  immediately  renew 
his  quest.  Adequate  penance  having  been  done  at  last,  and 
the  young  knight  having  stood  every  test  without  losing  his 
purity,  Parzival  was  finally  allowed  to  atone  for  his  uncon- 
scious fault.  Once  more  he  arrived  at  the  castle,  once  more 
entered  the  banquet  hall,  and  once  more  beheld  the  mystic 
procession.  Strengthened  by  silent  prayer,  Parzival  then 
asked  the  momentous  question ;  whereupon  Amf  ortas '  wound 
was  instantly  healed,  the  aged  Titurel  released  from  the 
pain  of  living,  Kundrie  baptized,  and  Parzival  unanimously 
hailed  as  future  guardian  of  the  Grail,  an  office  he  humbly 
yet  proudly  assumed. 

Another  legend  claims  that  his  son  Lohengrin,  ordered 
by  the  Holy  Grail  to  go  and  defend  Elsa  of  Brabant,  re- 
ceived from  his  father  a  magic  horn,  by  means  of  which 
he  was  to  announce  his  safe  arrival  at  his  destination,  and 
to  summon  help  whenever  he  wished  to  return.  Instead  of 
riding  a  charger,  Lohengrin  was  conveyed  in  a  swan-drawn 
skiff  to  Brabant,  where  he  found  Elsa  prajmig  for  a  cham- 
pion to  defend  her  against  Frederick  of  Telramund's  accu- 
sation of  having  slain  her  little  brother,  who  had  mysteri- 
ously disappeared. 

Lohengrin,  having  proved  the. falsity  of  the  charge  by 
defeating  the  accuser  in  a  judicial  duel,  married  Elsa, 
warning  her  she  must  never  seek  to  discover  his  name  or 
origin,  under  penalty  of  seeing  him  depart  as  suddenly  as 
he  had  arrived.  The  machinations  of  Frederick  of  Telra- 
mund,  and  of  his  artful  wife,  finally  drove  Elsa  to  pro- 
pound the  fatal  question,  and,  as  soon  as  Lohengrin  has 


352  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

sorrowfully  answered  it,  the  swan  appeared  and  bore  Mm 
away!  But,  as  Lohengrin  departed,  Elsa's  brother  reap- 
peared to  serve  as  her  protector.® 

This — ^mostly  German — ^version  of  the  Grail  legend — 
has  been  used  by  Wolfram  von  Eschenbach  for  a  long  and 
famous  epic,  and  by  Wagner  for  his  operas  Parzival  and 
Lohengriu.  In  the  French  and  particularly  in  the  English 
versions  of  the  Quest  for  the  Holy  Grail,  or  Sangreal,  Per- 
eival  is  with  the  other  knights  of  Arthur's  Round  Table 
when  they  take  this  vow.  He  seeks  for  it,  perceives  it 
through  a  veil,  but  never  entirely  achieves  the  quest,  since 
that  privilege  is  reserved  for  the  peerless  Galahad. 

The  versions  of  the  Holy  Grail  Story  of  which  Galahad 
is  hero  run  about  as  follows :  Galahad  is  the  son  of  Launee- 
lot  and  Elaine,  the  latter 's  nurse  having,  by  means  of 
enchantment,  made  her  to  appear  as  Guinevere — whom 
Launcelot  loved.  Deserted  by  the  accidental  father  of  her 
coming  child,  this  Blaine — daughter  of  King  Pelles — ^took 
refuge  in  a  nunnery,  where  she  gave  birth  to  Galahad,  whom 
when  dying  she  entrusted  to  the  nuns.  Brought  up  by 
those  holy  women  and  strengthened  in  early  infancy  by 
frequent  glimpses  of  the  Holy  Grail, — ^whose  light  was  blind- 
ing to  all  but  the  perfectly  pure, — ^Galahad  reached  man- 
hood as  pure  as  when  he  was  bom.  One  day  Sir  Launcelot 
and  Sir  Bors  were  summoned  from  Camelot  to  a  small 
church  near  by,  to  act  as  sponsors  for  a  young  candidate 
for  knighthood,  who  was  presented  to  them  by  some  nims. 
Launcelot  and  Bors,  having  thus  heard  Galahad  take  his 
vows,  were  not  surprised  to  see  him  brought  into  their 
midst  on  a  gala  day,  by  Merlin  or  by  the  spirit  of  Joseph, 
and  to  hear  him  warmly  welcomed  by  Arthur.  Some  ver- 
sions claim  that  Galahad,  led  to  the  Siege  Perilous,  found  his 
name  miraculously  inscribed  on  it  in  letters  of  gold,  and 
was  told  he  alone  should  occupy  that  place  at  the  Round 
Table. 

According  to  some  accounts,  it  was  while  all  the  knights 
were  thus  seated  around  Arthur's  board  on  this  occasion, 

'  See  the  author's  "  Stories  of  the  Wagner  Operas  "  and  "  Legends 
of  the  Rhine." 


STORY  OF  THE  HOLY  GRAH.  353 

that  the  Holy  Grail  suddenly  appeared  in  their  midst,  its 
radiance  so  veiled  by  its  coverings  that  one  and  all  vowed 
— ^when  it  had  disappeared— never  to  rest  until  they  had 
beheld  it  unveiled.  Arthur,  knowing  this  boon  would  be 
granted  only  to  the  absolutely  pure  and  that  they  were  all 
but  one  sinful  men  in  various  degrees,  keenly  regretted 
they  should  have  made  a  vow  which  would  entail  a  hopeless 
quest,  and  would  at  the  same  time  leave  him  bereft  of  the 
very  knights  who  had  hitherto  helped  him  to  right  the 
wrong  and  keep  the  pagans  at  bay.  The  knights  hastened 
to  church  to  receive  a  blessing  before  they  departed,  and 
then  went  off,  singly  or  in  small  groups,  to  seek  the  Holy 
Grail. 

When  Galahad  arrived  at  Arthur's  court,  he  was  fully 
armed,  save  that  an  empty  scabbard  hung  by  his  side  and 
that  he  bore  no  shield.  Soon  after  his  arrival,  a  servant 
breathlessly  announced  he  had  just  seen  a  large  block  of 
stone  floating  down  the  river,  into  which  a  beautiful  sword 
was  thrust  to  the  hilt.  On  hearing  this,  Arthur  and  his 
knights  hurried  down  to  the  landing  place,  but,  although 
the  stone  paused  there,  neither  the  king  nor  any  of  the 
nobles  at  his  court  were  able  to  draw  out  the  sword.  It 
became  evident  it  was  intended  for  Galahad  only,  when  he 
easily  drew  it  out  of  the  stone.  It  was  then,  according  to 
this  version,  that  the  other  knights  pledged  themselves  to 
go  in  quest  of  the  Holy  Grail.  Riding  off  alone,  Galahad 
came  to  an  abbey,  where  hung  a  white  shield  bearing  a  red 
cross,  which  he  learned  had  once  belonged  to  the  king  of 
Sarras,  who  was  converted  by  Joseph's  son.  The  red  cross 
was  drawn  with  blood,  and  was  to  remain  undimmed  for  its 
future  bearer,  Galahad. 

The  young  champion,  thus  completely  equipped,  rode 
off  and  next  arrived  at  the  enchanted  Castle  of  the  Holy 
Grail.  There  he  saw  Titurel,  the  sleeping  king,  and  Am- 
fortas,  the  acting  king,  before  whom  the  Grail  passed  un- 
seen because  he  had  sinned.  Silently  Galahad  watched  the 
mystic  procession  of  bleeding  spear,  miraculous  dish  or  cup, 
and  Seven-branched  Candlesticks.    Like  Parzival  he  hesi- 

23 


354  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

tated  to  ask  any  questions,  and  failed  to  achieve  the  Holy 
Grail,  because,  although  possessing  all  other  virtues,  he 
could  not  entirely  forget  himself  for  the  sake  of  others, 
and  thus  lacked  true  sympathy  or  altruism.  Thrust  out 
of  the  Castle — ^like  Parzival — ^he  wandered  through  a 
blighted  country,  where  he  met  the  Loathley  Damsel,  who 
in  punishment  for  her  sins  was  turned  loose  into  the  world 
to  work  evil  to  men.  She  hotly  reviled  Galahad  for  not 
having  asked  the  momentous  question,  and  the  youth,  learn- 
ing thus  in  what  way  he  had  been  wanting,  solemnly  vowed 
to  return  to  the  castle  and  atone  for  his  omission. 

But  meantime  the  enchanted  Castle  had  vanished,  and 
Galahad,  the  Champion  of  Purity, — ^whose  red  color  he 
always  wears, — ^travelled  through  the  world,  righting  the 
wrong.  He  arrived  thus  at  the  gate  of  a  castle  defended 
by  seven  knights, — ^the  Seven  Deadly  Sins, — with  whom  he 
struggled  to  such  good  purpose  that  he  defeated  them,  and 
was  free  to  enter  into  the  Castle  of  the  Maidens,  or  place 
where  the  Active  Virtues  have  long  been  kept  in  durance 
vile.  But,  the  door  still  being  locked,  Galahad  was  glad  to 
receive  the  key  proffered  by  an  old  monk,  who,  in  the  legend, 
personified  Righteousness. 

Galahad,  the  emblem  of  a  pure  soul,  now  penetrated 
into  the  castle,  where  the  maidens  blessed  him  for  setting 
them  free,  and  where  he  modestly  received  their  thanks. 
Among  these  maidens  was  Lady  Blanchefleur,  Galahad's 
match  in  purity,  to  whom  he  bade  farewell  as  soon  as  their 
nuptials  were  solemnized,  for  he  realized  The  Quest  could 
be  achieved  only  by  a  virgin  knight. 

Once  more  Galahad  rides  through  the  world,  and  this 
time  he  again  finds  and  enters  into  the  castle  of  the  Grail, 
where  he  once  more  beholds  the  Sacred  Mysteries.  His 
heart  full  of  sympathy  for  the  suffering  Amfortas,  he  now 
overlooks  the  rules  of  formal  politeness  in  his  desire  to 
help,  and  propounds  the  decisive  question.  Immediately  a 
refulgent  light  shines  forth  from  the  veiled  Grail  in  all  its 
life-giving  radiance,  and  King  Amfortas,  healed  of  his  sin, 
and  hence  able  to  see  the  vessel,  dies  of  joy,  just  as  an  angel 


STORY  OF  THE  HOLY  GRAIL  355 

bears  the  priceless  treasure  away  from  the  Enchanted 
Castle,  where  it  is  no  longer  to  sojourn. 

Longing  for  the  time  when  he  too  can  see  the  Grail  un- 
veiled, Galahad  remounts  his  milk-white  steed  and  rides 
through  the  world,  where  everybody  thanks  him  for  freeing 
the  world  of  the  pall  of  darkness  and  sin  which  has  rested 
upon  the  land  ever  since  Amfortas,  titulary  guardian  of 
the  Holy  Grail,  sinned  so  grievously.  Riding  thus,  Galahad 
comes  at  last  to  the  sea,  where  King  Solomon's  ship  awaits 
him.  This  vessel  has  been  miraculously  preserved  for  this 
purpose,  and  sent  here  to  convey  him  safely  to  Sarras, 
"the  spiritual  place."  It  is  the  present  home  of  the  Holy 
Grail,  which  had  already  sojourned  there  after  the  death 
of  Joseph  of  Arimathea. 

The  ship  in  which  Galahad  embarks  is  steered  by  an 
angel,  one  of  the  Guardians  of  the  Holy  Grail,  and  the  cup 
it  holds,  although  closely  veiled  from  profane  glances,  casts 
beams  of  refulgent  light  upon  Galahad  and  his  companions 
Sir  Percival  and  Sir  Bors.  They  two,  however,  not  being 
perfectly  pure,  cannot  clearly  distinguish  the  Grail,  whose 
sight  fills  the  soul  of  Galahad  with  ineffable  rapture.  Be- 
fore long  the  ship  arrives  at  Sarras,  the  fabulous  city,  where 
Galahad  can  hang  up  his  sword  and  shield  and  take  his 
well-earned  rest,  for  the  Quest  is  at  last  achieved!  The 
travellers  are  welcomed  by  an  old  man,  and,  when  the  king 
of  Sarras  dies,  the  people  unanimously  elect  Galahad  their 
next  ruler. 

After  governing  them  wisely  for  a  year,  Galahad — ^who 
prayed  in  King  Solomon's  ship  that  he  might  pass  out  of 
the  world  whenever  he  should  ask  it — ^begged  for  the  death 
of  the  body  so  he  might  find  the  eternal  life  of  the  soul. 

When  he  died,  the  Holy  Grail,  which  had  been  piously 
guarded  in  Sarras,  returned  to  heaven,  for  Galahad's  work 
was  finished  on  earth,  as  is  indicated  by  the  frescos  of  the 
Boston  library,  where  angels  guard  a  Golden  Tree  of 
achievement  whose  branches  reach  right  up  into  heaven. 


EPICS  OF  THE  NETHERLANDS 

In  searehiag  among  Dutch  masterpieces  of  literature, 
we  find  that  their  greatest  epic  is  "Joannes  Boetgezant," 
or  John  the  Messenger  of  Repentance.  This  epic  in  six 
books,  on  the  life  of  John  the  Baptist,  was  written  in  1662 
by  Vondel,  and  bears  many  traits  of  resemblance  to  Milton's 
Paradise  Lost. 

It  has  been  conjectured  that  the  most  famous  of  all  the 
animal  epics  or  beast  fables  originated  in  Flanders  or 
Luxembourg,  which  for  a  time  was  included  in  the  Low 
Countries.  This  epic,  which  has  been  translated  into  every 
European  langua^  and  has  even  found  its  way  into  the 
Far  East,  has  been  frequently  remodelled.  The  oldest  ex- 
tant MS.  in  Latin  dates  back  to  the  eleventh  or  twelfth 
century.  Among  modem  versions  the  most  clever,  finished, 
and  popular  is  Goethe's  "Eeineeke  Fuchs."^ 

In  this  poem  he  describes  how  the  animals  assemble  at 
"Whitsuntide  to  complain  to  their  king,  Noble,  the  Lion, 
about  the  dark  deeds  of  Reynard  the  Fox.  The  main  griev- 
ance is  that  of  Isegrim,  the  Wolf,  who  claims  Reynard 
blinded  three  of  his  offspring  and  insulted  his  wife.  Speak- 
ing French,  the  Lapdog  "Wackerlos  next  pathetically  de- 
scribes how  he  was  robbed  of  a  sausage,  which  the  Tom- 
cat vehemently  declares  was  his. 

Having  heard  the  depositions  of  the  Wolf,  the  Dog,  the 
Cat,  the  Panther,  aud  the  Hare,  Noble  is  about  to  sentence 
the  delinquent,  when  Grimbart,  the  Badger, — ^unele  of 
Reynard — rises  to  defend  the  accused.  Artfully  he  turns 
the  tables  and  winds  up  his  plausible  peroration  with  the 
statement  that  Reynard,  repenting  of  all  past  sins,  has 
turned  hermit,  and  is  now  spending  his  time  in  fasting, 
alms-giving,  and  prayer ! 

Just  as  Noble  is  about  to  dismiss  the  case  as  non-proven, 

"  See  the  author's  "  Legends  of  the  Middle  Ages." 
356 


EPICS  OF  THE  NETHERLANDS  357 

Henning  the  Cock  appeals,  followed  by  his  sons,  who  bear 
on  a  litter  the  mangled  remains  of  a  hen,  strangled  by 
Kejmard,  who  slipped  into  the  chicken-yard  in  the  guise  of 
a  monk. 

The  king  immediately  dispatches  Brown  the  Bear  to 
Malepartus  to  summon  Reynard  to  appear  at  court.  On. 
arriving  at  his  destination,  the  Bear,  although  still  resent- 
ing the  king's  recommendations  to  be  wary,  allows  him- 
self to  be  led  to  a  half-split  tree-trunk,  within  which  Rey- 
nard assures  him  he  will  find  stores  of  honey  to  refresh 
himself.  Just  as  soon  as  the  Bear's  nose  and  forepaws  are 
greedily  inserted  into  the  crack,  Reynard  slyly  removes  the 
wedges  and  decamps,  leaving  the  Bear  a  prisoner  and  howl- 
ing with  pain. 

His  roars  soon  attract  the  peasant  and  his  son,  who 
beat  the  captive  until  he  wrenches  himself  loose,  at  the 
cost  of  some  patches  of  skin  and  of  a  few  claws.  The  Bear, 
returning  to  court  in  this  plight,  is  taxed  with  stupidity 
and  greed,  and  Hintze  the  Cat  is  sent  to  sum m on  Reynard 
to  court.  The  Cat,  hungry  also,  is  led  to  a  small  opening 
in  a  barn  which  Reynard  declares  is  swarming  with  mice, 
but  where  the  poor  Tomcat  is  caught  in  a  trap,  whence  he 
escapes  only  after  having  received  a  beating  and  lost  one 
eye. 

His  woful  report  decides  the  king  to  send  Grimbart  the 
Badger  to  summon  his  nephew  to  court.  Reynard  receives 
this  emissary  most  courteously,  and,  on  hearing  the  king 
will  raze  his  fortress  if  he  does  not  obey,  sets  out  for  court. 
On  the  way  Reynard  begs  Grimbart  to  act  as  his  confessor, 
and,  having  unburdened  his  conscience,  does  penance  and 
receives  absolution.  But  scarcely  has  this  ceremony  been 
completed  when  Reynard,  spying  some  fat  hens,  begins  to 
chase  them,  and  is  only  with  difficulty  recalled  to  a  sense 
of  what  is  fitting. 

On  arriving  at  court,  Reynard  hypocritically  regrets  so 
many  people  have  slandered  him  to  the  king,  and  tries  to 
refute  every  charge.  He  is,  however,  sentenced  to  the  gal- 
lows, but  even  on  the  road  thither  devises  a  plan  to  escape. 


358  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Pretending  regret  for  his  past,  he  humbly  begs  the  king's 
permission  to  address  the  spectators,  and  in  a  lengthy  speech 
describes  how  he  was  led  astray  in  his  youth  by  Isegrim, 
the  Wolf.  He  also  declares  his  only  regret  is  to  die  before 
he  can  reveal  to  the  king  the  hiding-place  of  a  vast  treasure, 
which  would  enable  him  to  outwit  the  plots  of  some  rebels 
who  are  even  now  conspiring  to  kill  him.  The  king,  hear- 
ing this,  immediately  orders  a  reprieve,  and,  questioning  the 
Fox  in  secret,  learns  that  the  conspirators  are  Brown  the 
Bear,  Isegrim  the  Wolf,  and  others.  To  reward  the  Pox 
for  saving  her  husband's  life,  the  queen  now  obtains  his 
pardon,  which  Noble  grants  ia  exchange  for  information 
in  regard  to  the  treasure. 

Having  given  these  indications,  the  Fox  sets  out  on  a 
pilgrimage  to  Eome,  escorted  by  the  Ram  and  the  Hare, 
which  latter  is  slain  as  soon  as  they  arrive  at  Malepartus, 
where  Rejoiard  wishes  to  bid  his  family  farewell.  After 
feasting  upon  the  flesh  of  this  victim,  Reynard  puts  his 
bones  into  a  wallet  and  ties  it  on  the  Ram's  back,  bidding 
him  hasten  back  to  court  with  this  present  and  receive  his 
reward!  Although  circumstantial  evidence  is  enough  to 
convict  the  poor  Ram  of  murder,  a  few  days  later  new 
complaints  are  made  against  Reynard  by  a  Rabbit  and  a 
Crow.  Noble,  roused  again,  prepares  to  batter  down  the 
walls  of  Malepartus,  and  Grimbart,- perceiving  Reynard's 
peril,  hurries  off  to  give  him  warning. 

He  finds  Reynard  contemplating  some  young  doves,  upon 
which  he  intends  to  dine.  On  hearing  what  Grimbart  has 
to  say,  Reynard  declares  it  would  be  easy  to  acquit  himself 
could  he  only  gain  the  king's  ear  long  enough  to  explain  the 
real  state  of  affairs.  Then  he  again  begs  Grimbart  to  act 
as  his  father  confessor,  and,  resuming  his  confession  where 
he  left  off,  makes  a  clean  breast  of  all  his  misdeeds.  Shortly 
after  this,  Reynard  meets  the  Ape,  who  tells  him  that 
should  he  ever  be  in  a  quandary  he  must  call  for  the  aid  of 
this  clever  ally  or  of  his  wife. 

At  his  second  appearance  at  court,  the  Fox  openly  re- 
grets there  are  so  many  vile  people  in  the  world  ready  to 


EPICS  OF  THE  NETHERLANDS  359 

accuse  innocent  persons,  and  proceeds  to  set  all  his  doings 
in  such  a  plausible  light,  that  the  king,  instead  of  sentencing 
him.  again  to  death,  allows  him  to  settle  his  case  by  fighting 
a  judiciary  duel  with  the  Wolf.  The  preparations  for  the 
duel  are  ludicrous  because  the  Fox,  advised  by  the  Ape, 
is  shaven  smooth,  greased  until  too  slippery  to  be  held, 
and  duly  strengthened  by  advice  and  potations.  Blinded 
by  the  sand  continually  whisked  into  his  eyes  by  the  Fox's 
tail,  unable  to  hold  his  all  too  slippery  opponent,  the 
Wolf  is  beaten  and  the  Fox  acquitted  by  the  Judgment 
of  God! 

Although  Noble  now  oflfers  to  make  Reynard  his  privy 
counsellor,  the  Fox  returns  home,  where  his  admiring  wife 
and  children  welcome  him  rapturously. 

In  some  versions  of  the  tale  Reynard  further  avenges 
himself  by  suggesting,  when  the  king  is  taken  ill,  that  he 
can  be  cured  if  he  eats  the  head  of  a  wolf  just  seven  years 
old,  knowing  the  only  wolf  of  that  age  is  Isegrim,  who 
throughout  the  epic  is  fooled  by  the  clever  Fox,  the  hero 
of  endless  adventures  which  have  delighted  young  and  old 
for  centuries. 


SCANDINAVIAN  EPICS 

The  different  Scandinavian  dialects  formed  but  one 
language  mitil  about  1000  A.D.,  when  they  split  up  into 
two  great  groups,  the  East  Northern  including  the  Danish 
and  Swedish;  and  the  West  Northern  including  the  Ice- 
landic, Norwegian,  and  Faroese.  Danish  literature  boasts 
of  some  five  hundred  chivalric  ballads  (Kjaempeviser) ,  on 
partly  historical  and  partly  mythical  themes,  which  were 
composed  between  the  fourteenth  and  sixteenth  centuries. 
It  was  the  Danish  translator  of  the  Bible  who  introduced 
his  countrymen  to  Charlemagne  and  Ogier,  whose  legends 
received  their  finished  forms  at  his  hands.  In  1555  Reynard 
the  Fox  was  translated  into  Danish  from  the  French,  in 
1663  the  Heimskringla  from  the  Icelandic,  but  it  was  in 
1641  that  Arrebo  composed  the  Hexaemeron  or  first  real 
Danish  epic.  In  the  nineteenth  century  Paludan  Miiller 
also  wrote  epics,  which,  however,  are  not  very  popular 
outside  of  his  country.  The  runes  of  Sweden  bear  witness 
to  the  existence  of  sundry  ancient  sagas  or  epics  which 
perished  when  Christianity  was  introduced  into  the  land. 
In  the  Middle  Ages,  a  gleeman  at  the  court  of  Queen 
Euphemia  (1303-12)  composed  the  Euphemiaviser,  or  ro- 
mances of  chivalry  done  into  Swedish  verse.  The  greatest 
epic  work  of  Sweden  is,  however,  Tegner's  Frithjof 's  Saga 
(1846),  relating  the  adventures  and  courtship  of  an  old 
Scandinavian  hero,  a  work  of  which  a  complete  synopsis 
is  given  in  the  author's  Legends  of  the  Middle  Ages. 

The  elite  of  the  Norwegians  emigrated  to  Iceland  for 
political  reasons  during  the  twelfth  and  thirteenth  cen- 
turies. Owing  to  their  geographical  isolation  and  to  the 
long  winters,  these  people  were  thrown  entirely  on  their 
own  resources  for  amusement.  The  hours  of  darkness  were 
beguiled  by  tales  and  songs,  so  yo^ung  and  old  naturally  de- 
lighted in  the  recitations  of  the  skalds.  This  gave  birth  to 
an  oral  literature  of  great  value,  and,  although  many  of 

360 


SCANDINAVIAN  EPICS  361 

the  works  of  the  skalds  have  perished,  the  Icelanders  fortu- 
nately recovered  in  1643,— after  centuries  of  oblivion,— 
the  Elder  Edda,  an  eleventh-century  collection  of  thirty- 
three  poems  on  mythical  and  heroic  subjects  by  Saemunt 
the  Wise. 

There  is  also  a  similar  work  in  prose  known  as  the 
Younger  Edda,  by  Snorro  Sturluson,  which  contains  tales 
of  Scandinavian  mythology,  and  this  writer  also  collected 
many  of  the  old  hero  tales  in  his  Heimskringla. 

Many  of  the  old  sagas  have  been  preserved  in  more  or 
less  perfect  forms.  They  are  generally  divided  into  three 
groups,  the  first  including  sagas  on  historical  themes,  such 
as  the  Egilssaga,  the  Eyrbyggjasaga,  the  Njalssaga,  the 
Laxdaelasaga,  and  the  already  mentioned  Heimskringla. 

The  second,  mythical,  or  heroic  group  comprises  the 
Grettis  saga  and  the  Volsunga,  the  finest  of  all  the  sagas 
and  one  of  the  main  sources  of  the  Nibelungenlied  and  of 
Wagner's  Trilogy.  This  epic  has  been  wonderfully  ren- 
dered in  modem  English  by  William  Morris. 

In  the  third  and  last  group  are  massed  together  the 
romantic  epics,  translations  or  imitations  of  the  Latin, 
French,  and  German  epics  and  romances,  relating  to 
Alexander,  Charlemagne,  Parsival,  etc.  The  finest  saga  in 
this  group  is  the  Gunnlaugssaga. 

Norwegian  literature  goes  back  to  the  skald  Bragi  (c. 
800),  whose  principal  poem,  Eagnarsdrapa,  relates  the 
marvellous  adventures  of  the  national  hero  Ka,gnar  Lodbrog. 
This  poem  was  incorporated  by  Snorro  Sturluson  in  what 
is  known  as  the  Snorro  Edda.  Most  of  the  poems  in  the 
Elder  Edda  are  also  of  Norwegian  origin,  as  well  as  Hvin  's 
Haustlong  or  account  of  a  famous  warrior.  In  the  thirteenth 
century  prose  sagas  were  plentiful  among  the  Danes,  who 
took  special  pleasure  in  the  Thidrekssaga  (1250),  or  life 
and  adventures  of  Dietrich  von  Bern;  in  the  Karlamag- 
nussaga,  or  story  of  Charlemagne ;  and  in  the  Barlaamssaga 
ok  Josaphats,  or  Hebrew  tale  of  Barlaam  and  Josaphat. 

Norway  also  possesses  a  rich  fund  of  folk  tales,  which 


362  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

have  been  collected  by  Asbjomsen,  and  which,  having  many 
of  the  qualities  of  prose  epies,  have  delighted  many  gen- 
erations. 

THE  VOLSUNGA  SAGA  ^ 

The  Second  Part  of  the  Edda  contains  the  famous  Vol- 
sunga  Saga,  or  Epic  of  the  Volsungs,  which  has  not  only 
given  rise  to  the  Nibelungenlied  and  to  Wagner's  famous 
Trilogy  of  operas,  but  also  to  William  Morris'  Sigurd  the 
Volsung.  The  plot  of  this,  the  most  characteristic  and 
famous  of  the  Scandinavian  sagas,  is  as  follows : 

Volsung,  a  lineal  descendant  from  Odin,  built  his  dwell- 
ing around  the  trunk  of  a  mighty  oak,  the  Branstock,  whose 
branches  overshadowed  his  whole  dwelling.  When  Signy, 
Volsung 's  only  daughter,  was  married  against  her  will  to 
Siggier,  king  of  the  Goths,  a  one-eyed  stranger  (Odin) 
suddenly  appeared  among  the  wedding  guests,  and  thrust 
a  priceless  sword  (Balmung)  deep  into  the  bole  of  the 
homestead  oak.  Before  departing,  as  abruptly  as  he  had 
come,  the  stranger  proclaimed  the  weapon  should  belong  to 
the  man  who  pulled  it  out,  and  prophesied  that  it  would 
assure  him  the  victory  in  every  fight. 

"  Now  let  the  man  among  you  whose  heart  and  hand  may  shift 
To  pluck  it  from  the  oak-wood  e'en  take  it  for  my  gift. 
Then  ne'er,  but  his  own  heart  falter,  its  point  and  edge  shall  fail 
Until  the  night's  beginning  and  the  ending  of  the  tale." ' 

Although  conscious  that  Odin  had  been  in  their  midst, 
Volsung  courteously  invited  the  bridegroom  to  try  his  luck 
first,  then  himself  attempted  to  draw  out  the  divine  sword, 
before  he  bade  his  ten  sons  exert  their  strength  in  turn. 
Only  the  youngest,  Sigmund,  was  at  last  able  to  perform 
the  required  feat,  and  when  Siggier  eagerly  offered  to  pur- 
chase his  trophy  from  him,  he  firmly  refused  to  part  with 
it.  Full  of  anger  at  this  refusal,  the  Goth  departed  on  the 
morrow,  but  although  Signy  loyally  warned  her  kinsmen 

"  See  the  author's  "  Myths  of  Northern  Lands." 
"AH   the   quotations    in   this   chapter   are   from   Wm.   Morris' 
"  Sigurd  the  Volsung." 


THE  VOLSUNGA  SAGA  363 

that  her  husband  was  plotting  revenge,  the  Volsungs  ac- 
cepted his  invitation  to  visit  them  soon. 

When  Volsung  and  his  ten  sons  arrived  ia  Gothland, 
Signy  again  bade  them  beware  of  coming  treachery,  but  all 
in  vain.  The  brave  Volsungs,  drawn  into  an  ambush  by 
their  wily  foe,  were  seized  and  bound  fast  to  a  fallen  tree 
in  a  lonely  forest,  where  every  night  a  wild  beast,  devoured 
one  of  these  helpless  men.  Closely  watched  by  her  cruel 
husband,  Signy  could  lend  no  aid  to  the  prisoners,  but  when 
none  but  Sigmund,  the  youngest,  was  left,  she  directed  a 
slave  to  smear  his  face  with  honey.  The  wild  beast,  attracted 
by  the  sweet  odor,  licked  the  face  of  the  last  prisoner,  who, 
thus  enabled  to  catch  its  tongue  between  his  teeth,  struggled 
with  the  beast  until  his  bonds  broke  and  he  was  free ! 

When  Siggier  sent  to  investigate  as  usual  the  next  morn- 
ing, his  messenger  reported  no  prisoners  were  left  bound 
to  the  tree  and  that  only  a  heap  of  bones  was  visible.  Sure 
his  foes  were  all  dead,  Siggier  ceased  to  watch  his  wife, 
who,  stealing  out  into  the  forest  to  bury  the  remains  of  her 
kin,  discovered  Sigmund  in  a  thicket,  and  promised  to  aid 
him  to  obtain  his  revenge.  To  redeem  this  promise  she 
sent  to  her  brother,  one  after  another,  two  of  her  sons  to 
be  trained  as  avengers,  but,  as  both  of  these  children  proved 
deficient  in  courage,  she  came  to  the  conclusion  none  but  a 
pure-blooded  Volsung  would  meet  their  requirements.  To  se- 
cure an  offspring  of  this  strain,  Signy,  disguised  as  a  gypsy, 
secretly  visited  her  brother's  hut,  and  when  their  child,  Sin- 
fiotli,  was  older,  sent  him  to  Sigmund  to  foster  and  train. 

With  a  youthful  helper  whom  nothing  could  daunt,  Sig- 
mund, after  achieving  sundry  adventures,  lay  in  wait  in 
Siggier 's  cellar,  but,  warned  by  two  of  his  young  children 
that  murderers  were  hiding  behind  his  casks,  Siggier  had 
them  seized  and  cast  into  separate  cells.  There  he  decreed 
they  should  starve  to  death.  But,  before  their  prison  was 
closed,  Signy  cast  into  it  a  bundle  of  straw,  wherein  she 
had  concealed  Balmung,  the  magic  sword.  Thanks  to  this 
weapon,  Sigmund  and  Sinfiotli  not  only  hewed  their  way 
out  of  their  separate  prisons,  but  slew  all  the  Goths  who 


364  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

attempted  to  escape  from  Siggier's  dwelling,  which,  they  set 
aflame.  But,  although  both  proposed  to  save  Signy,  she 
merely  stepped  out  of  the  house  long  enough  to  reveal 
Sinfiotli's  origin  and  bade  them  farewell,  ere  she  plunged 
back  into  the  flames ! 

And  then  King  Siggier's  roof-tree  upheaved  for  its  utmost  fall, 

And  its  huge  walls  clashed  together,  and  its  mean  and  lowly  things 

The  fire  of  death  confounded  with  the  tokens  of  the  kings. 

A  sign  for  many  people  on  the  land  of  the  Goths  it  lay, 

A  lamp  of  the  earth  none  needed,  for  the  bright  sun  brought  the  day. 

Feeling  he  had  done  his  duty  by  avenging  his  father's 
and  brothers'  death,  Sigmund  now  returned  home,  where 
in  his  old  age  he  was  slain  in  battle  shortly  after  his 
marriage  to  a  young  wife.  Finding  him  dying  on  the 
battle-field,  this  wife  bore  off  the  fragments  of  his  magic 
sword  as  sole  inheritance  for  his  child,  whom  she  hoped 
would  prove  a  boy  who  could  avenge  him.  One  version  of 
the  story  relates  that  to  escape  the  pursuit  of  Sigmund 's 
foes  this  expectant  mother  plunged  into  the  woods  and 
sought  help  and  refuge  in  the  smithy  of  Mimer,  a  magician 
as  well  as  a  blacksmith.  Here  she  gave  birth  to  Sigurd, 
who,  as  she  died  when  he  was  bom,  was  brought  up  by 
Mimer,  who  marvelled  to  find  the  boy  absolutely  fearless. 

Another  version  claims  that,  discovered  by  a  Viking, 
mourning  over  her  dead  spouse,  the  widow  was  carried  off 
by  him,  and  consented  to  become  his  wife  on  condition  he 
would  prove  a  good  foster-father  to  Sigmund 's  child.  In 
this  home  Sigurd  was  educated  by  the  wisest  of  men, 
Regin,  who  taught  him  all  a  hero  need  know,  and  directed 
him  how  to  select  his  wonderful  steed  Grane  or  Greyfell  (a 
descendant  of  Odin's  Sleipnir),  from  a  neighboring  stud. 

Seeing  the  youth  ready  for  adventure,  Regin  now  told 
him  how  the  gods  Odin,  Hoenir,  and  Loki,  wandering  upon 
earth  in  the  guise  of  men,  once  slew  an  otter,  which  they 
carried  to  a  neighboring  hut,  asking  to  have  its  meat 
served  for  their  dinner.  Their  host,  however,  exclaiming 
they  had  killed  his  eldesrt  son  who  often  assumed  the  form 
of  an  otter,  seized  and  bound  them  fast,  vowing  they 


THE  VOLSUNGA  SAGA  365 

should  not  be  free  until  they  gave  as  ransoni  gol4  enough 
to  cover  the  huge  otter-skin. 

The  gods,  knowing  none  but  a  magic  treasure  would 
suffice  for  that,  bargained  for  the  release  of  Loki,  who 
departed  in  quest  of  the  dwarf  Andvari,  the  collector  of  an 
immense  hoard  of  gold  by  magic  means.  As  the  wily  And- 
vari could  not  easily  be  found,  it  required  all  the  astuteness 
of  the  god  of  evil  to  discover  him  in  the  guise  of  a  fish  at  the 
source  of  the  Rhine,  and  to  catch  him  by  means  of  the  sea- 
goddess'  infallible  net. 

Having  the  dwarf  in  his  power,  Loki  wrung  from  him 
his  huge  treasure,  his  Helm  of  Dread,  or  cap  of  invisibility, 
and  even  tore  from  his  very  finger  a  magic  ring  of  gold, 
thus  incurring  the  dwarf's  curse. 

"  For  men  a  curse  thou  bearest:  entangled  in  my  gold. 
Amid  my  woe  abideth.  another  woe  imtold. 
Two  brethren  and  a  father,  eight  kings  my  grief  shall  slay; 
And  the  hearts  of  queens   shall  be  broken,   and  their   eyes  shall 

loathe  the  day. 
Lo,  how  the  wilderness  blossoms!     Lo,  how  the  lonely  lands 
Are  waving  with  the  harvest  that  fell  from  my  gathering  hands!  " 

Scorning  this  prediction,  Loki  hastened  to  the  rescue  of 
his  fellow-gods ;  but,  as  the  otter-skin  stretched  further  and 
further,  it  required  not  only  all  the  treasure,  but  even  the 
helmet  aad  the  serpent  ring  of  gold,  to  cover  it  and  thus 
complete  the  required  ransom. 

The  new  owner  of  the  treasure  now  gloated  over  his 
gold  until  his  very  nature  changed,  and  he  was  transformed 
into  a  hideous  dragon.  One  of  his  two  remaining  sons, 
Pafnir,  entering  the  hut,  slew  the  dragon  before  he  realized 
it  was  his  father,  and  then,  fascinated  by  treasure  and 
ring,  bore  them  off  to  a  lonely  heath,  where  in  the  guise 
of  a  dragon  he  too  mounted  guard  over  them.  This  ap- 
propriation of  these  treasures  was  keenly  resented  by  his 
brother  Begin,  who,  unable  to  cope  with  the  robber  himself, 
now  begged  Sigurd  to  help  him.  Like  Mimer  in  the  other 
version  of  the  tale.  Begin  was  an  experienced  blacksmith, 
but,  notwithstanding  all  his  skill,  Sigurd  broke  every  blade 


366  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

he  forged  for  this  task.  Finally  the  young  hero  hammered 
out  of  the  fragments  of  his  dead  father's  blade  a  weapon 
which  sheared  the  anvil  in  two,  and  could  neatly  divide  a 
number  of  fleeces  floating  down  a  stream. 

Properly  mounted  and  armed,  Sigurd  was  guided  by 
Eegin  to  the  Glittering  Heath,  the  place  where  Fafnir 
guarded  his  gold.  A  one-eyed  ferryman  (Odin)  conveyed 
the  youth  across  the  river,  advising  him  to  dig  a  pit  in 
the  track  the  dragon  had  worn  in  his  frequent  trips  to  the 
river  to  drink.  Hidden  in  this  pit — ^the  ferry-man  ex- 
plained— ^the  youth  could  mortally  wound  the  dragon  while 
he  crawled  over  his  head. 

This  advice  being  too  pertinent  to  be  scorned,  Sigurd 
faithfully  carried  out  the  plan  and  slew  the  dragon,  whose 
fiery  blood  poured  down  upon  him  and  made  every  part 
of  his  body  invulnerable,  save  a  tiny  spot  between  his 
shoulders,  where  a  Hme-leaf  stuck  so  closely  that  the  dragon 
blood  did  not  touch  the  skin. 

While  Sigurd  was  still  contemplating  the  fallen  monster, 
Eegin  joined  him,  and,  fearing  lest  he  might  claim  part  of 
the  gold,  plotted  to  slay  him.  First,  he  bade  Sigurd  cut 
out  the  heart  of  the  dragon  and  roast  it  for  him,  a  task  which 
the  youth  obediently  performed,  but  in  the  course  of  which 
he  stuck  a  burnt  finger  in  his  mouth  to  allay  the  smart. 
This  taste  of  Fafnir 's  heart  blood  then  and  there  conferred 
upon  Sigurd  the  power  to  understand  the  language  of  some 
birds  near  by,  which  exclaimed  that  Regin  was  coming  be- 
hind him  to  slay  him  with  his  own  sword !  Enraged  at  such 
ingratitude  and  treachery,  Sigurd  now  slew  Regin,  and 
after  piling  up  most  of  the  treasure  in  a  cave, — ^where  it 
continued  to  be  guarded  by  the  dragon's  corpse, — Sigurd 
rode  away,  taking  with  him  his  sword,  the  magic  helmet, 
and  the  ring. 

Still  guided  by  the  birds,  Sigurd  next  rode  up  a  moun- 
tain, crowned  by  a  baleful  light,  which  he  presently  dis- 
covered emanated  from  a  fire  forming  a  barrier  of  flame 
around  a  fortress.  Setting  spurs  to  his  divine  steed,  Sigurd 
rode  right  through  these  flames,  which  then  flickered  and 


THE  VOLSUNGA  SAGA  367 

died  down,  and  discovered  in  the  centre  of  the  fortress  a 
mound,  whereon  lay  an  apparently  lifeless  warrior.  Using 
his  sword  to  cut  the  armor  fastenings,  Sigurd  discovered, 
beneath  this  armor,  the  Valkyr  or  battle-maiden  Brynhild, 
who,  on  recovering  consciousness,  hailed  her  return  to  life 
and  light  with  rapture  and  warmly  thanked  her  deliverer. 
Then  the  two,  having  fallen  in  love  with  each  other  at 
first  sight,  explained  to  each  other  who  they  were;  and 
Sigurd,  after  relating  his  own  origin  and  adventures, 
learned  that  Brynhild,  a  Valkyr,  having  defied  Odin  by 
saving  a  man  he  had  doomed  to  death,  had  been  condemned 
to  mate  with  any  mortal  who  claimed  her  hand.  Dread- 
ing to  become  the  prey  of  a  coward,  Brynhild  implored 
Odin  to  surround  her  with  a  barrier  of  fire  which  none  save 
a  brave  man  could  cross.  Although  a  goddess,  she  admits 
she  loves  her  rescuer,  and  gladly  accepts  the  magic  ring  he 
tenders  and  promises  to  be  his  wife. 

Then  he  set  the  ring  on  her  finger  and  once,  if  ne'er  again, 

They  kissed  and  clung  together,  and  their  hearts  were  full  and  fain. 

The  hero,  however,  doomed  to  press  on  in  quest  of 
further  adventures,  soon  left  Brynhild  in  the  castle  where 
he  had  found  her,  still  protected  by  the  barrier  of  flame, 
and  rode  off  to  Burgundy,  the  land  of  the  Niblungs.  Here 
reigned  Guiki,  whose  fair  daughter  Gudrun  once  dreamt 
that  a  falcon,  after  hovering  for  some  time  over  her  house, 
nestled  ia  her  bosom,  which  she  soon  beheld  dyed  red  by 
its  life-blood.  Disturbed  by  this  ominous  dream,  Gudrun 
visited  Brynhild  and  besought  her  interpretation,  only  to 
learn  she  would  marry  a  king  who  would  in  time  be  slain 
by  his  foes. 

Shortly  after  this  occurrence,  Sigurd  reached  the  land 
of  the  Niblungs  and  challenged  Gunnar,  brother  of  Gudrun, 
to  fight.  But,  rather  than  cross  swords  with  the  slayer  of 
a  dragon,  Gunnar  offered  the  stranger  his  hand  in  friend- 
ship and  sent  for  his  sister  to  give  him  the  cup  of  welcome. 
While  sojourning  here  with  the  Niblungs,  Sigurd  dis- 
tinguished himself  by  athletic  feats  and,  when  war  broke 


368  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

out,  by  conquering  their  foes.  These  proofs  of  strength 
and  daring  captivated  the  heart  of  Gudrun,  who,  seeing 
Sigurd  paid  no  attention  to  her,  finally  prevailed  upon 
her  mother  to  give  her  a  love  potion,  which  she  offered  to 
him  on  his  return  from  one  of  his  adventures. 

He  laughed  and  took  the  cup:  but  therein  with  the  blood  of  the  earth 
Earth's  hidden  might  was  mingled,  and  deeds  of  the  cold  sea's  birth. 
And  things  that  the  high  gods  turn  from,  and  a  tangle  of  strange 

love. 
Deep  guile,  and  strong  compelling,  that  whoso  drank  thereof 
Should  remember  not  his  longing,  should  cast  his  love  away. 
Remembering  dead  desire  but  as  night  remembereth  day." 

No  sooner  has  this  potion  been  quaffed  than  our  hero, 
utterly  oblivious  of  earlier  promises  to  Brynhild,  sued  for 
Gudrun 's  hand,  and  was  promised  she  should  be  his  bride 
if  he  helped  Gunnar  secure  Brynhild. 

In  behalf  of  his  future  brother-in-law — ^whose  form  he 
assumed — Sigurd  once  more  rode  through  the  flames,  and, 
although  haunted  by  vague  memories  of  the  past,  wrested 
from  Brynhild  the  magic  betrothal  ring  he  had  given  her, 
and  claimed  her  as  bride.  Compelled  by  fate  to  wed  any 
man  who  rode  through  the  flames  to  claim  her,  Brynhild 
reluctantly  obeyed  Sigurd — ^whom  she  did  not  recognize — 
and  was  duly  married  to  Gunnar,  king  of  the  Niblungs. 
But,  on  perceiving  Sigurd  at  his  court,  she  vainly  strove 
to  make  him  remember  her  and  his  vows,  and  was  filled 
with  bitter  resentment  when  she  perceived  his  utter  de- 
votion to  Gudrun,  his  present  bride. 

Meantime,  although  Gunnar  had  secured  the  wife  he 
coveted,  he  was  anything  but  a  happy  man,  for  Brynhild 
would  not  allow  him  to  approach  her.  Sigurd,  to  whom  he 
finally  confided  this  unsatisfactory  state  of  aiSairs,  finally 
volunteered  to  exert  his  fabulous  srtrength  to  reduce  to 
obedience  the  rebellious  bride,  whom  he  turned  over  to  his 
brother-in-law  in  a  submissive  mood,  after  depriving  her 
of  her  girdle  and  ring,  which  he  carried  off  as  trophies 
and  gave  to  Gudrun. 

Brynhild 's  resentment,  however,  still  smouldered,  and 


THE  VOLSUNGA  SAGA  369 

■when  Gudrun,  her  sister-in-law,  attempted  to  claim  prece- 
dence when  they  were  bathing  in  the  river,  she  openly  quar- 
relled with  her.  In  the  course  of  this  dispute,  Gudrun 
exhibited  the  magic  ring,  loudly  proclaiming  her  husband 
had  wooed  and  won  Gunnar's  bride!  Two  distinct  parties 
now  defined  themselves  at  court,  where  Hogni,  a  kinsman 
6f  the  Niblungs,  vehemently  espoused  Brynhild's  cause.  By 
some  secret  means — for  his  was  a  dark  and  tortuous  mind, 
ever  plotting  evil — Hogni  discovered  the  trick  of  the  magic 
potion,  as  weU  as  Blrynhild's  previous  wooing  by  Sigurd, 
and  proposed  to  her  to  avenge  by  blood  the  insult  she  had 
received. 

According  to  one  version  of  the  tale,  Hogni,  who  dis- 
covers in  what  spot  Sigurd  is  vulnerable,  attacks  him  while 
he  is  asleep  in  bed  and  runs  his  lance  through  the  fatal 
spot.  The  dying  Sigurd  therefore  has  only  time  to  bid  his 
wife  watch  over  their  children  ere  he  expires.  By  order  of 
Gudrun,  his  corpse  is  placed  on  a  pyre,  where  it  is  to  be 
consumed  with  his  wonderful  weapons  and  horse.  Just  as 
the  flames  are  rising,  Brynhild,  who  does  not  wish  to  sur- 
vive the  man  she  loves,  either  plunges  into  the  flames  and 
is  consumed  too,  or  stabs  herself  and  asks  that  her  corpse 
be  burned  beside  Sigurd's,  his  naked  sword  lying  between 
them,  and  the  magic  ring  on  her  finger. 

"  I  pray  thee  a  prayer,  the  last  word  in  the  world  I  speak. 

That  ye  bear  me  forth  to  Sigurd  and  the  hand  my  hand  would  seek; 

\e  bale  for  the  dead  is  builded,  it  is  wrought  full  wide  on  the  plain, 

'fe  is  raised  for  Earth's  best  Helper,  and  thereon  is  room  for  twain: 

Ye  have  hung  the  shields  about  it,  and  the  Southland  hangings 

spread. 
There  lay  me  adown  b;^.  Sigurd  and  my  head  beside  his  head: 
But  ere  ye  leave  us  s)  'iping,  draw  his  Wrath  from  out  the  sheath. 
And  lay  that  Light  of  the  Branstock  and  the  blade  that  frigh.ted 

Death 
Betwixt  my  side  and  Sigurd's,  as  it  lay  that  while  agone. 
When  once  in  one  bed  together  we  twain  were  laid  alone: 
How  then  when  the  flames  flare  upward  may  I  be  left  behind? 
How  then  may  the  road  he  wendeth  be  hard  for  my  feet  to  find*? 
How  then  in  the  gates  of  Valhall  may  the  door  of  the  gleaming  ring 
Caash  to  on  the  heel  of  Sigurd,  as  I  follow  on  my  king? " 

24 


370  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Another  version  of  the  tale  relates  that  Sigurd  was  slain 
by  Hogni  while  hunting  in  the  forest,  as  the  story  runs  in 
the  Nibelungenlied.  Next  we  are  informed  that  the  king 
of  the  Huns  demanded  satisfaction  from  Gunnar  for  his 
sister  Brynhild's  death,  and  was  promised  Gudrun's  hand 
in  marriage.  By  means  of  another  magic  potion,  Sigurd's 
widow  was  induced  to  marry  the  king  of  the  Huns,  to  whom 
she  bore  two  sons.  But,  when  the  effect  of  the  potion  wore 
off,  she  loathed  this  second  marriage  and  dreamed  only  of 
avenging  Sigurd's  death  and  of  getting  rid  of  her  second 
spouse. 

As  in  the  Nibelungenlied,  Atli  invited  her  kin  to  Hun- 
gary, where  they  arrived  after  burying  the  golden  hoard 
in  a  secret  spot  in  the  Rhine,  a  spot  they  pledged  them- 
selves never  to  reveal.  Once  more  we  have  a  ride  to  Hun- 
gary, but  Gudrun,  seeing  her  husband  means  treachery, 
fights  by  her  brother's  side.  Throughout  this  battle  Gunnar 
sustains  the  courage  of  the  Niblungs  by  playing  on  his  harp, 
but,  when  only  he  and  Hogni  are  left,  they  are  overpowered 
and  flung  into  prison.  There  Atli  vainly  tries  to  make 
them  confess  the  hiding-place  of  the  hoard,  and,  hearing 
Gunnar  will  not  speak  as  long  as  Hogni  lives,  finally  orders 
this  warrior  slain  and  his  heart  brought  into  Gunnar 's 
presence. 

Convinced  at  last  that  the  momentous  secret  now  lies 
with  him  alone,  Gunnar  flatly  refuses  to  reveal  it. 

Then  was  Gunnar  silent  a  little,  and  the  shout  in  the  hall  had  died, 
And  he  spoke  as  a  man  awakening,  and  turned  on  Atli's  pride. 
"  Thou  all-rich  King  of  the  Fastlands,  e'en  such  a  man  might  I  be 
That  I  might  utter  a  word,  and  the  heart  should  be  glad  in  thee, 
And  I  should  live  and  be  sorry:  for  I,  I  only  am  left 
To  tell  of  the  ransom  of  Odin,  and  the  wealth  from  the  toiler  reft. 
Lo,  once  it  lay  in  the  water,  hid  deep  adown  it  lay, 
Till  the  gods  were  grieved  and  lacking,  and  men  saw  it  and  the  day: 
Let  it  lie  in  the  wa.ter  once  more,  let  the  gods  be  rich  and  in  peace! 
But  I  at  least  in  the  world  from  the  words  and  the  babble  shall 
cease." 

In  his  rage  Atli  orders  the  bound  prisoner  cast  into  a  pit 
full  of  venomous  serpents,  where,  his  harp  being  flung  after 


THE  VOLSUNGA  SAGA  371 

him  in  derision,  Gunnar  twangs  its  strings  with  his  toes 
until  he  dies.  To  celebrate  this  victory,  Atli  orders  a 
magnificent  banquet,  where  he  is  so  overcome  by  his  many 
potations  that  Gudrun  either  stabs  him  to  death  with 
Sigurd's  sword,  or  sets  fire  to  the  palace  and  perishes  with 
the  Huns,  according  to  different  versions  of  the  story. 

A  third  version  claims  that,  either  cast  into  the  sea 
or  set  adrift  in  a  vessel  in  punishment  for  murdering  Atli, 
Gudrun  landed  in  Denmark,  where  she  married  the  king 
and  bore  him  three  sons.  These  youths,  in  an  attempt 
to  avenge  the  death  of  their  fair  step-sister  Swanhild,  were 
stoned  to  death.  As  for  Gudrun,  overwhelmed  by  the 
calamities  which  had  visited  her  in  the  course  of  her  life, 
she  finally  committed  suicide  by  casting  herself  into  the 
flames  of  a  huge  funeral  pyre. 

This  saga  is  evidently  a  sun  myth,  the  blood  of  the  final 
massacres  and  the  flames  of  the  pyre  being  emblems  of  the 
sunset,  and  the  slaying  of  Fafnir  representing  the  defeat 
of  cold  and  darkness  which  have  carried  off  the  golden 
hoard  of  summer. 

Ye  have  heard  of  Sigurd  aforetime,  how  the  foea  of  God  he  slew; 
How  forth  from  the  darksome  desert  the  Gold  of  the  Waters  he  drew ; 
How  he  wakened  Love  on  the  Mountain,  and  wakened  Brynhild  the 

Bright, 
And  dwelt  upon  Earth  for  a  season,  and  shone  in  all  men's  sight. 
Ye  have  heard  of  the  Cloudy  People,  and  the  dimming  of  the  day, 
And  the  latter  world's  confusion,  and  Sigurd  gone  away; 
Now  ye  know  of  the  Need  of  the  Nihlungs  and  the  end  of  broken 

troth, 
411  the  death  of  kings  and  of  kindreds  and  the  Sorrow  of  Odin 

the  Goth. 


RUSSIAN  AND  FINNISH  EPICS 

There  is  strong  evidence  tliat  the  Finns,  or  some  closely 
allied  race,  once  spread  over  the  greater  part  of  central 
Europe.  The  two  or  more  million  Finns  who  now  occupy 
Finland,  and  are  subject — ^much  against  their  will — ^to  the 
Czar,  are  the  proud  possessors  of  an  epic  poem — ^the  Kale- 
vala — ^which  until  last  century  existed  only  in  the  memory 
of  a  few  peasants.  Scattered  parts  of  this  poem  were  pub- 
lished in  1822  by  Zacharias  Topelius,  and  Elias  Lonnrot, 
who  patiently  travelled  about  to  collect  the  remainder,  was 
the  first  to  arrange  the  22,793  verses  into  50  runes  or  cantos. 
The  Kalevala  attracted  immediate  attention  and  has  already 
been  translated  into  most  modern  languages.  Like  most 
epics,  its  source  is  in  the  m3rthology  and  folk-lore  of  the 
people,  and  its  style  has  been  closely  imitated  by  Longfellow 
in  his  Hiawatha.  The  latest  English  adaptation  of  this 
great  epic  is  Baldwin's  "Sampo." 

Although  Russian  literature  is  rich  in  folk  poetry  and 
epic  songs,  none  of  the  latter  have  been  written  down  until 
lately,  with  the  exception  of  the  twelfth-century  Song  of 
Igor's  Band.  The  outline  of  this  epic  is  that  Igor,  prince 
of  Southern  Russia,  after  being  defeated  and  made  pris- 
oner, effected  his  escape  with  the  help  of  a  slave.  Among 
the  fine  passages  in  this  work  we  note  Nature's  grief  over 
the  prince's  capture  and  the  lament  of  his  faithful  consort. 

It  was  only  in  the  nineteenth  century,  after  ZhukovsM 
and  Batyushkoff  had  translated  into  Russian  some  of  the 
world's  great  masterpieces,  such  as  Tasso's  Jerusalem  De- 
livered and  Homer's  Odyssey,  that  Pushkin  wrote  (1820)  the 
epic  Ruslan  and  Lyudmila,  drawing  the  materials  therefor 
from  Russian  antiquity  and  from  popular  legends. 

There  are  in  Russia  and  Siberia  any  number  of  epic 
songs  or  "bylinas,"  dating  from  legendary  times  to  the 
present  day,  which  have  recently  been  collected  by 
Kireyevski  and  others,  £Cnd  which  already  fill  some  ten 

372 


THE  KALEVALA  373 

volumes.  The  heroes  of  these  songs  are  either  personifica- 
tions of  the  forces  of  nature  or  favorite  historical  per- 
sonages. They  form  great  cycles,  one  clustering  for  in- 
stance around  Vladimir  and  the  ancient  capital  of  Russia, 
Kiev,  another  around  the  free  city  of  Novgorod,  and  a  third 
belonging  to  the  later  Moscow  period.  The  principal  hero 
of  many  of  the  Russian  folk  tales,  and  of  the  epic  songs 
most  frequently  sung  by  wandering  bards,  is  Ilya  Muromets, 
who  nobly  protects  widows  and  orphans  and  often  displays 
his  fabulous  strength  by  reducing  mighty  oaks  to  kindling 
wood  with  a  few  blows ! 

THE  KALEVALA,  OR  THE  LAND  OF  HEROES 

The  national  epic  of  the  Finns  was  rescued  from  oblivion 
by  Topelius  and  Lonnrot,  two  physicians,  who  took  it  down 
from  the  mouth  of  the  people  and  published  it  in  the  first 
half  of  the  nineteenth  century.  It  consists  in  22,793  lines, 
divided  into  fifty  runes,  and  is  considered  by  a  great 
German  authority — Steinthal — as  one  of  the  four  great 
national  epics  of  the  world. 

Not  only  does  it  relate  "the  ever-varying  contests  be- 
tween Finns  and  Laplanders,"  but  that  between  Light  and 
Darkness,  Good  and  Evil,  for  in  the  poem  the  Fions  per- 
sonify Light  and  Good,  whUe  the  Lapps  are  emblems  of 
Darlmess  and  Evil.  The  Sampo,  which  is  mentioned  in 
this  poem,  and  which  seems  to  have  been  some  sort  of  a 
magic  grist-mill,  holds  the  same  place  in  Finn  mythology 
as  the  Golden  Fleece  in  that  of  the  Greeks.  Many  of  the 
poems  incorporated  in  this  epic  date  back  some  three  thou- 
sand years,  and  the  epic  itself  is  composed  in  alliterative 
verse,  although  it  also  contains  rhythm  of  line  and  sound, 
as  the  following  introductory  lines  prove. 

Mastered  by  desire  impulsive. 
By  a  mighty  inward  urging, 
I  am  ready  now  for  singing, 
Ready  to  begin  the  chanting 
Of  our  nation's  ancient  folk-song 


374  THE  BOOK  OP  THE  EPIC 

Handed  down  from  by-gone  ages. 
In  my  mouth  the  words  are  melting. 
From  my  lips  the  tones  are  gliding. 
From  my  tongue  they  wish  to  hasten; 
When  my  willing  teeth  are  parted. 
When  my  ready  mouth  is  opened, 
Songs  of  ancient  wit  and  wisdom 
Hasten  from  me  not  unwilling.* 

The  proem  then  invites  all  people  to  listen  to  legends  of 
by-gone  times  and  to  the  teachings  of  the  wizard  Waina- 
moinen,  to  admire  the  works  of  Ilmarinen  and  the  doings 
of  Youkahainen  in  the  pastures  of  the  Northland  and  in 
the  meads  of  Kalevala.  It  adds  that  these  runes  were 
caught  from  the  winds,  the  waves,  and  the  forest  branches, 
and  have  been  preserved  in  the  Northland  ever  since. 

Bune  I.  In  the  first  rune  we  are  informed  that  Ilmater, 
daughter  of  the  air,  weary  of  floating  alone  in  space,  finally 
descended  to  ther  ocean,  where  she  was  rocked  in  the  cradle 
of  the  deep  seven  hundred  years.  She  made  use  of  this 
time  to  create,  out  of  the  eggs  of  .a  wild  duck,  the  canopy 
of  the  heavens,  and  the  spherical  earth,  with  its  islands, 
rocks,  and  continents.  At  the  end  of  these  seven  hundred 
years,  Ilmater  gave  birth  to  Wainomoinen,  having  waited 
all  this  time  to  be  delivered  of  him,  and  having  vainly 
called  all  living  creatures  to  her  aid.  After  coming  into 
the  world;  this  wonderful  child  floated  about  on  the  ocean 
eight  years,  and  then  drew  himself  up  on  a  barren  promon- 
tory to  admire  the  sun,  moon,  and  starry  skies. 

Bune  II.  After  Hving  alone  for  some  time  on  this 
promtontory  or  island,  Wainamoinen  summoned  PeUer- 
woinen,  "first-bom  of  the  plains  and  prairies,"  and  bade 
him  scatter  broadcast  seeds  for  the  trees  which  were  destined 
to  clothe  both  vales  and  hillsides.  In  a  twinkling  of  an 
eye,  every  variety  of  forest  growth  waved  its  branches 
hither  and  thither,  and,  although  Wainamoinen  rejoiced  to 
see  the  forest,  he  soon  discovered  that  the  oak,  the  "tree 
of  heaven,"  was  lacking  in  it.    Because  the  oak  still  slept 

'All  the  quotations  in  this  chapter  are  from  Crawford's  trans- 
lation of  the  "  Kalevala." 


THE  KALEVALA  S75 

within  an  acorn,  Wainamoinen  wondered  how  to  conjure 
it  out  of  its  hiding-place,  and,  after  consulting  five  water- 
maidens,  called  the  giant  Tursus  out  of  the  depths  of  the 
ocean.  After  burning  the  hay  the  water-maidens  raked 
together,  this  giant  planted  in  the  ashes  an  acorn,  which 
quickly  sprouted,  and  whence  arose  a  tree  of  such  mighty 
proportions  that  its  branches  hid  the  rays  of  the  sun  and 
blotted  out  the  starlight. 

Terrified  by  what  he  had  done,  Wainamoinen  wondered 
how  to  get  rid  of  the  oak,  and  implored  his  mother  to  send 
some  one  to  help  him.  Immediately  there  rose  from  the 
sea  a  pygmy,  armed  in  copper,  whom  Wainamoinen  deemed 
incapable  of  coping  with  so  large  a  tree,  until  the  dwarf 
suddenly  transformed  himself  into  a  giant  of  such  propor- 
tions that  four  blows  from  his  copper  axe  felled  the  oak, 
scattering  its  trunk  to  the  east,  its  top  to  the  west,  its 
leaves  to  the  south,  and  its  branches  to  the  north.  The 
chips  from  the  fallen  oak  were  collected  by  a  Northland 
maiden  to  make  enchanted  arrows  for  a  magician,  and  the 
soil  it  overshadowed  immediately  began  to  bear  vegetation 
of  sundry  kinds. 

Gazing  at  this  new  growth  Wainamoinen  discovered 
every  kind  of  seed  sprouting  there  save  barley.  Soon  after 
he  found  seven  grains  of  this  cereal  on  the  sea-shore  and 
consulted  the  birds  how  best  to  plant  them.  They  advised 
him  to  fell  the  forests,  bum  the  branches,  ajid  plant  the 
barley  in  the  land  thus  cleared.  While  obeying  these 
directions  in  the  main,  Wainamoinen  allowed  the  birch  to 
stand,  declaring  there  must  be  some  place  where  the  cuckoo 
and  the  eagle  could  build  their  nests.  These  two  birds, 
greatly  pleased  by  this  attention,  watched  Wainamoinen  as 
he  sowed  his  seed,  and  heard  him  chant  a  prayer  to  Ukko, 
Father  of  Heaven,  to  send  down  rain  to  help  it  germinate. 
This  prayer  was  answered  to  such  good  purpose  that  eight 
days  later  Wainamoinen  found  a  crop  of  barley  ready  to 
harvest,  and  heard  the  cuckoo's  notes  as  it  perched  in  the 
birch  trees. 


376  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

"  Therefore  I  have  left  the  biroh-tree. 
Left  the  birch-tree  only  growing. 
Home  for  thee  for  joyful  singing. 
Call  thou  here,  O  sweet-voicied  cuckoo. 
Sing  thou  here  from  throat  of  velvet. 
Sing  thou  here  with  voice  of  silver. 
Sing  the  cuckoo's  golden  flute-notes; 
Call  at  morning,  call  at  evening. 
Call  within  the  hour  of  noontide, 
For  the  better  growth  of  forests. 
For  the  ripening  of  the  barley, 
For  the  richness  of  the  Northland, 
For  the  joy  of  Kalevala." 

Bune  III.  In  the  beautiful  Land  of  the  Heroes — ^Kale- 
vala— Wainamoinen  sang  songs  so  wonderful  that  their 
fame  spread  northward  to  the  land  of  the  Lapps,  and 
prompted  Toukahainen  to  journey  southward  and  challenge 
the  "ancient  minstrel"  to  a  singing  contest.  In  vain 
Toukahainen 's  parents  strove  to  dissuade  him  from  this 
undertaking ;  the  bold  youth  harnessed  his  sledge  and  drove 
rapidly  southward,  colliding  with  Wainamoinen,  who  was 
also  out  in  his  sledge  that  day.  Although  "Wainamoinen 
was  modest,  his  opponent  was  boastful  and  boldly  proposed 
they  show  their  skiU  by  singing.  Invited  to  sing  first, 
Wainamoinen  chanted  a  set  of  commonplace  axioms;  but 
when  Toukahainen  imitated  him,  the  ancient  minstrel  chal- 
lenged his  guest  to  sing  of  creation  or  philosophy.  Although 
Toukahainen  now  claimed  he  and  seven  other  primeval 
heroes  saw  how  the  earth  was  fashioned,  how  the  sky  was 
arched,  and  how  the  silvery  moon  and  golden  sun  were  set 
in  position,  Wainamoinen  termed  him  prince  of  liars  and 
averred  he  was  not  present  at  the  creation  as  he  claimed. 
This  contradiction  so  enraged  Toukahainen  that  he  offered 
to  fight,  but,  instead  of  accepting  this  challenge,  Waina- 
moinen sang  a  magic  song  of  such  power  that  it  resolved 
Toukahainen 's  sled  and  harness  to  their  primitive  compo- 
nents, and  caused  him  to  sink  ever  deeper  into  quicksands 
which  finally  rose  to  his  very  lips.  Realizing  his  desperate 
plight,  Toukahainen  implored  Wainamoinen  to  cease  his 
enchantments,  offering  as  a  ransom  for  his  life  all  manner 
of  magic  gifts  which  Wainamoinen  scorned.     In  fact,  it 


THE  KALEVALA  S77 

was  only  when  the  culprit  promised  him  the  hand  of  his 
sister  Aino  that  the  ancient  minstrel  reversed  his  spell,  and 
not  only  released  Youkahainen,  but  restored  to  him  all  his 
possessions. 

The  defeated  bard  now  returns  to  Lapland,  and  on  arriv- 
ing there  smashes  his  sledge  in  token  of  anger.  His  parents 
wonderingly  question  him,  and,  on  learning  he  has  promised 
his  sister's  hand  in  marriage  to  the  magician  Wainamoinen, 
they  are  delighted  that  she  should  marry  so  influential  a 
man,  although  the  maiden  herself  mourns  because  all  pleas- 
ures are  to  be  taken  from  her  forever. 

Bune  IV.  While  out  in  the  forest  gathering  birch  shoots 
for  brooms,  this  maiden  soon  after  is  seen  by  Wainamoinen, 
who  bids  her  adorn  herself  for  her  wedding,  whereupon  she 
petulantly  casts  off  the  ornaments  she  wears  and  returns 
home  weeping  without  them.  When  her  parents  inquire 
what  this  means,  Aino  insists  she  will  not  marry  the  old 
magician,  until  her  mother  bribes  her  by  the  offer  of  some 
wonderful  treasures,  bestowed  by  the  Daughter  of  the  Sun 
and  Moon,  and  which  until  now  have  been  hidden  in  the 
depths  of  the  earth. 

Although  decked  in  these  magnificent  adornments,  the 
girl  wanders  around  the  fields,  wishing  she  were  dead,  for 
marriage  has  no  attractions  for  her  and  she  is  not  anxious 
io  become  an  old  man's  bride.  Stealing  down  to  the  sea- 
shore, she  finally  lays  aside  her  garments  and  ornaments 
and  swims  to  a  neighboring  rock,  where  she  no  sooner 
perches  than  it  topples  over,  and  she  sinks  to  the  bottom 
of  the  sea !  There  Aino  perishes,  and  the  water  is  formed 
of  her  blood,  the  fish  from  her  flesh,  the  willows  from  her 
ribs,  and  the  sea-grass  from  her  hair!  Then  all  nature 
wonders  how  the  news  of  her  drowning  shall  be  conveyed 
to  her  parents,  and  when  the  bear,  wolf,  and  fox  refuse 
to  transmit  so  sad  a  message,  the  sea-maidens  depute  the 
hare,  threatening  to  roast  him  unless  he  does  their  bidding. 

Learning  her  daughter  has  perished  thus  miserably,  the 
mother  of  Aino  recognizes  that  parents  should  not  compel 
daughters  to  marry  against  their  will. 


378  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

"Listen,  all  ye  mothers,  listen. 
Learn  from  me  a  tale  of  wisdom: 
Never  urge  unwilling  daughters 
From  the  dwellings  of  their  fathers. 
To  the  bridegrooms  that  they  love  not. 
Not  as  I,  inhuman  mother. 
Drove  away  my  lovely  Aino, 
Fairest  daughter  of  the  Northland." 

Her  sorrow  is  such  that  three  streams  of  tears  flow  from 
h3r  eyes  and,  increasing  as  they  flow,  form  cataracts,  be- 
tween which  rise  three  pinnacles  of  rock,  whereon  grow 
birches,  upon  which  cuckoos  forever  chant  of  "love,  suitors, 
and  consolation!" 

Biine  V.  The  news  of  Aino's  death  travels  swiftly 
southward,  and  Wainamoinen,  hearing  that  his  bride  has 
perished,  is  plunged  in  grief.  When  he  seeks  consolation 
from  the  water-maidens  they  bid  him  go  out  fishing.  After 
angling  for  many  a  day,  he  finally  secures  a  salmon,  larger 
and  more  beautiful  than  any  fish  ever  seen  before.  He  is 
opening  his  knife  to  cut  the  salmon  open,  when  it  suddenly 
springs  back  into  the  deep,  saying  it  was  Aino  who  had  come 
to  join  him  but  who  now  escapes  in  punishment  for  his 
cruelty.  Not  discouraged  by  this  first  failure,  Wainamoinen 
fishes  on,  until  the  spirit  of  his  mother  bids  him  travel  north- 
ward and  seek  a  suitable  wife  among  the  Lapps. 

"  Take  for  thee  a  life  companion 
From  the  honest  homes  of  Suomi, 
One  of  Northland's  honest  daughters; 
She  will  charm  thee  with  her  sweetness. 
Make  thee  happy  through  her  goodness. 
Form  perfection,  manners  easy. 
Every  step  and  movement  graceful, 
Full  of  wit  and  good  behavior. 
Honor  to  thy  home  and  kindred." 

Bune  VI.  Preparing  for  a  journey  northward,  Waina- 
moiaen  bestrides  his  magic  steed,  and  galloping  over  the 
plains  of  Kalevala  crosses  the  Blue  Sea  as  if  it  were  land. 
The  bard  Youkahainen,  foreseeing  his  coming,  lies  in  wait 
for  him  and  prepares  arrows  to  shoot  him,  although  his 
mother  warns  him  not  to  attempt  anything  of  the  kind. 


THE  KALEVALA  379 

It  is  the  third  poisoned  arrow  from  Youkahainen's  bow 
which  strikes  Wainamoinen's  horse,  which  immediately 
sinks  to  the  bottom  of  the  sea,  leaving  its  rider  to  struggle 
in  the  water  some  eight  years.  Meantime  Youkahainen 
exults  because  his  foe  is  dead,  although  his  mother  insists 
her  son  has  merely  brought  woe  upon  the  earth. 

Bune  VII.  Instead  of  treading  the  waves,  Waina- 
moinen  swims  about  until  an  eagle — grateful  because  he 
left  birch-trees  for  birds  to  perch  upon — swoops  down,  in- 
vites him  to  climb  upon  its  back,  and  swiftly  bears  him  to 
the  dismal  northland  Sariola.  There  Wainamoinen  is  dis- 
covered by  the  Maid  of  Beauty,  who  sends  her  mother,  tooth- 
less Louhi,  to  invite  him  into  the  house,  where  she  bounti- 
fully feeds  him.  Next  Louhi  promises  to  supply  Waina- 
moinen with  a  steed  to  return  home  and  to  give  him  her 
daughter  in  marriage,  provided  he  will  forge  for  her  the 
Sampo,  or  magic  grist-mill.  Although  Wainamoinen  can- 
not do  this,  he  promises  that  his  brother,  the  blacksmith 
Ilmarinen,  shall  forge  it  for  her,  and  thus  secures  the  prom- 
ise of  the  hand  of  the  Maid  of  Beauty.  This  bargain  made, 
Wainamoinen  drives  away  in  a  sledge  provided  by  his 
hostess,  who  cautions  him  not  to  look  up  as  he  travels  along, 
lest  misfortune  befall  him. 

Bune  VIII.  Instead  of  obeying  these  injunctions, 
Wainamoinen  gazes  upward  on  his  way  home,  and  thus 
discovers  the  Maid  of  Beauty,  or  Maiden  of  the  Rainbow, 
weaving  "a  gold  and  silver  air-gown."  When  he  invites 
her  to  come  with  him,  she  pertly  rejoins  the  birds  have  in- 
formed her  a  married  woman's  life  is  unenviable,  for  wives 
"are  like  dogs  enchained  in  kennel."  When  Wainamoinen 
insists  wives  are  queens,  and  begs  her  to  listen  to  his 
wooing,  she  retorts  when  he  has  split  a  golden  hair  with  an 
edgeless  knife,  has  snared  a  bird's  egg  with  an  invisible 
snare,  has  peeled  a  sandstone,  and  made  a  whipstock  from 
ice  without  leaving  any  shavings,  she  may  consider  his 
proposal. 

These  impossible  tasks  are  quickly  accomplished  by  the 
wizard,  but,  while  filling  the  Rainbow  Maiden's  last  order — 


380  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

to  fashion  a  ship  out  of  her  broken  spindle — ^Wainamoinen 
accidentally  cuts  his  knee  so  badly  that  the  blood  flows  so 
fast  no  charm  can  stop  it.  In  vain  different  remedies  are 
tried,  in  vain  Wainamoinen  seeks  help  at  sundry  houses, 
the  blood  continues  to  pour  out  of  his  wound  until  it  looks 
as  if  he  would  die. 

Bune  IX.  Wainamoinen  finally  enters  a  cottage  where 
two  girls  dip  up  some  of  his  blood,  and  where  an  old  man 
informs  him  he  can  be  healed  if  he  will  only  "sing  the 
origin  of  iron."  Thereupon  Wainamoinen  chants  that 
Ukko,  Creator  of  Heaven,  having  cut  air  and  water  asunder, 
created  three  lovely  maidens,  whose  milk,  scattered  over  the 
earth,  supplied  iron  of  three  different  hues.  He  adds  that 
Fire  then  caught  Iron,  and  carried  it  off  to  its  furnace, 
where  Hmarinen  discovered  a  way  to  harden  it  into  steel 
by  means  of  venom  brought  to  him  by  the  bird  of  Hades. 

This  song  finished,  the  old  man  cheeks  the  flow  of  blood, 
and  sends  his  daughters  to  collect  various  herbs,  out  of  which 
he  manufactures  a  magic  balsam  which  cures  the  cut  im- 
mediately. 

Bune  X  and  XI.  Wainamoinen  now  hastens  back  to 
Kalevala  and  interviews  his  brother  Hmarinen,  who  refuses 
to  journey  northward  or  to  forge  the  magic  Sampo.  To  in- 
duce the  smith  to  do  his  will,  Wainamoinen  persuades  him 
to  climb  a  lofty  fir-tree,  on  whose  branches  he  claims  to 
have  hung  the  moon  and  the  Great  Bear.  While  Hmarinen 
is  up  in  this  tree,  the  wizard  Wainamoinen  causes  a  violent 
storm  to  blow  his  brother  off  to  the  Northland,  where,  wel- 
comed by  Louhi,  Hmarinen  sets  up  his  forge,  and  after  four 
days'  arduous  work  produces  the  magic  sampo. 

"  I  will  forge  for  thee  the  Sampo, 
Hammer  thee  the  lid  in  colors, 
From  the  tips  of  white-swan  feathers. 
From  the  milk  of  greatest  virtue. 
From  a  single  grain  of  barley,  ^ 

From  the  finest  wool  of  lambkins. 
Since  I  forged  the  arch  of  heaven. 
Forged  the  air  a  concave  cover. 
Ere  the  earth  had  a  beginning." 


THE  KALEVALA  381 

The  sorceress  is  so  pleased  with  the  Sampo— by  means 
of  which  she  daily  grinds  out  treasure,,  untold — that,  after 
hiding  it  away  safely  in  a  mountain,  she  authorizes 
Ilmarinen  to  woo  the  Maid  of  Beauty,  who  assures  him  also 
she  never  will  marry.  Saddened  by  this  refusal,  Ilmarinen 
longs  for  home,  whither  he  is  wafted  in  Louhi's  magic  boat 
of  copper. 

Meanwhile  Wainamoinen  has  been  building  a  magic  boat 
in  which  to  sail  northward.  He  is  aided  in  this  work  by 
Lemminkainen,  who,  seeing  the  Maid  of  Beauty,  boldly  kid- 
naps her.  But  the  maiden  consents  to  be  his  spouse  only 
if  he  will  promise  never  to  fight,  a  pledge  he  readily  gives 
in  exchange  for  hers  to  forego  ail  village  dances.  These 
vows  duly  exchanged,  the  young  couple  are  united,  and  all 
goes  well  as  long  as  both  scrupulously  keep  their  promise. 

Bune  XII.  The  time  comes,  however,  when  Lemmin- 
kainen goes  fishing,  and  during  his  absence  his  wife  secretly 
attends  a  village  dance.  When  the  husband  returns,  his 
sister  informs  him  his  bride  has  broken  her  promise,  where- 
upon Lemminkainen  vows  it  is  time  he  too  should  break 
his,  and,  harnessing  his  sleigh,  starts  off  for  Lapland  to 
fight.  On  arriving  there  he  enters  sundry  houses,  and 
finally  meets  in  one  of  them  a  minstrel,  whose  song  he 
roughly  criticises.  Then,  seizing  the  man's  harp,  Lemmin- 
kainen chants  all  sorts  of  speUs,  until  ail  present  are  under 
their  influence  save  a  blind  shepherd,  whom  Lemminkainen 
allows  to  go,  and  who  hastens  down  to  the  River  of  Death, 
declaring  he  wiU  there  await  the  singer's  arrival. 

Bunes  XIII  and  XIV.  Lemminkainen  now  asks  Louhi 
for  her  second  daughter,  whom  she  refuses  to  give  him, 
declaring  that  after  deserting  her  first  daughter  he  can 
obtain  her  second  only  by  catching  the  wild  moose  ranging 
in  the  fields  of  Hisi  (Death),  by  bridling  his  fire^breathing 
steed,  and  by  killing  with  his  first  arrow  the  great  swan 
swimming  on  the  River  of  Death.  The  first  two  tasks, 
although  bristling  with  difSculties,  are  safely  accomplished 
by  Lemminkainen,  but  when  he  reaches  the  River  of  Death, 
the  blind  shepherd— who  is  lying  there  in  wait  for  him — 


THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

ruthlessly  slays  him,  chops  his  body  into  pieces,  and  casts 
them  into  the  stream. 

Bune  XV.  After  vainly  awaiting  Lemminkainen's  re- 
turn, his  aged  mother,  seeing  blood  drip  from  his  hair-brush, 
concludes  evil  must  have  befallen  her  son.  She  therefore 
hastens  northward,  and  threatens  to  destroy  Louhi's  magic 
Sampo  unless  the  sorceress  will  reveal  what  has  become  of 
Lemminkainen.  Louhi  then  confesses  that  she  sent  him 
down  to  Hades  to  hunt  the  Death  swan,  so  Lemminkainen 'g 
mother  hastens  down  to  the  Eiver  of  Death,  only  to  learn 
her  son  has  perished.  Hastening  back  to  the  blacksmith 
Ilmarinen,  the  frantic  mother  beseeches  him  to  make  her  a 
rake  with  a  handle  five  hundred  fathoms  long,  and  armed 
with  this  implement  begins  to  dredge  the  river.  Presently 
she  fishes  out  one  by  one  the  garments  and  various  frag- 
ments of  her  son!  Thanks  to  powerful  incantations  she 
restores  Lemminkainen  to  life,  speech,  and  motion,  where- 
upon the  youth  thanks  her,  and  graphically  relates  how  he 
came  to  his  death.  But,  although  he  is  home  once  more, 
Lemminkainen  is  always  thinking  of  the  beautiful  maiden 
he  wooed,  and  he  still  longs  to  kill  the  swan  swimming  on 
the  River  of  Death ! 

Bunes  XYI  and  XVII.  Leaving  Lemminkainen,  the 
poem  now  relates  how  Wainamoinen  built  a  boat,  asking 
the  God  of  the  Forest  to  supply  him  with  the  necessary 
material  for  its  different  parts.  When  questioned,  the  trees 
one  after  another  declare  they  are  unfit  for  ship-building, 
until  the  oak  proffers  its  strong  trunk.  Wainamoinen  now 
constructs  his  vessel,  but  discovers  he  lacks  three  "master 
words"  to  finish  it  properly.  After  vainly  seeking  these 
words  among  birds  and  animals,  he  crosses  the  River  of 
Death  in  a  boat,  only  to  find  the  magie  formula  is  unknown 
even  to  the  angel  of  Death !  The  words  are,  however,  well 
known  to  Wipunen,  a  giant  of  whom  he  goes  in  quest.  Pry- 
ing open  the  monster's  lips  to  force  him  to  speak,  Waina- 
moinen stumbles  and  accidentally  falls  into  the  huge  maw 
and  is  swallowed  alive.  But,  unwilling  to  remain  indefi- 
nitely in  the  dark  recesses  of  the  giant's  body,  Waina- 


THE  KALEVALA  383 

moinen  soon  sets  up  a  forge  in  the  entrails  of  the  colossus, 
thus  causing  him  such  keen  discomfort  that  the  monster 
proposes  to  eject  his  guest,  who  flatly  refuses  to  be  dislodged 
until  he  learns  the  magic  words.  Having  thus  cleverly  se- 
cured what  he  is  seeking,  Wainamoinen  returns  home  and 
completes  a  boat,  which  proves  self-propelling,  and  speedily 
bears  him  to  the  Northland  to  woo  the  Maiden  of  the 
Eainbow. 

Thus  the  ancient  Wainamoinen 
Built  the  boat  with  magic  only, 
And  with  magic  launch^  his  vessel. 
Using  not  the  hand  to  touch  it. 
Using  not  the  foot  to  move  it. 
Using  not  the  knee  to  turn  it. 
Using  nothing  to  propel  it. 
Thus  the  third  task  was  completed. 
For  the  hostess  of  Pohyola, 
Dowry  for  the  Maid  of  Beauty 
Sitting  on  the  arch  of  heaven. 
On  the  bow  of  many  colors. 

Bune  XVIII.  Wainamoinen 's  departure  in  the  magic 
vessel  is  noted  by  Ilmarinen's  sister,  who  immediately  in- 
forms her  brother  a  suitor  is  starting  to  woo  the  girl  he 
covets.  Jumping  into  his  sled  Ilmarinen  drives  off,  and 
both  suitors  approach  the  maiden's  dwelling  from  differ- 
ent points  at  the  self-same  time.  Seeing  them  draw  near, 
the  witch  Louhi  bids  her  daughter  accept  the  older  mam — 
because  he  brings  a  boat-load  of  treasures — and  to  refuse 
the  empty-handed  youth.  But  the  daughter,  who  prefers 
a  young  bridegroom,  declares  that  the  smith  who  fashioned 
the  incomparable  Sampo  cannot  be  an  undesirable  match. 
When  Wainamoinen  therefore  lands  from  his  ship  and  in- 
vites her  to  go  sailing  with  him,  she  refuses  his  invitation. 
Heavy-hearted,  Wainamoinen  is  obliged  to  return  home 
alpne,  and,  on  arriving  there,  issues  the  wise  decree  that  old 
men  should  never  woo  mere  girls  or  attempt  to  rival  young 
men. 

Rune  XIX.  In  his  turn  Ilmarinen  now  woos  the  Rain- 
bow Maiden,  and  is  told  by  Louhi  that  ere  he  can  claim 
his  bride  he  must  plough  the  serpent-field  of  Hades,  bring 


384  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

back  from  that  place  the  Tuoni-bear  safely  muzzled,  and 
catch  a  monster  pike  swimming  in  the  Eiver  of  Death. 
Helped  by  the  Maiden  of  the  Rainbow,  Ilmarinen  accom- 
plishes these  three  difScult  feats,  by  first  forging  the  plough, 
noose,  and  fishing  eagle  required. 

Bunes  XX,  XXI,  XXII,  XXIII,  and  XXIV.  Now  ex- 
tensive preparations  are  made  for  the  marriage  of  Ilmarinen 
and  the  Maiden  of  the  Rainbow.  Not  only  is  the  mighty  ox 
of  Harjala  slain  and  roasted,  but  beer  is  brewed  for  the  first 
time  in  the  Northland,  and  many  verses  are  devoted  to 
describe  the  processes  by  which  this  national  drink  was 
brought  to  its  state  of  perfection !  When  at  last  Ilmarinen 
appears  to  take  away  his  bride,  the  Rainbow  Maiden  seems 
unwilling  to  go,  and  objects  that  a  wife  is  her  husband's 
slave,  and  has  to  spend  all  her  days  in  pleasing  him,  his 
father,  and  his  mother.  Although  her  lament  is  touching 
iadeed,  the  bride-advisor  directs  her  to  please  her  new 
relatives,  admonishes  Ilmarinen  to  treat  her  kindly,  and 
watches  the  two  set  off,  the  Rainbow  Maiden  shedding  bitter 
tears  at  leaving  her  beloved  home. 

Bune  XXV.  The  bride  and  bridegroom  are  next  warmly 
welcomed  by  Ilmarinen 's  family,  old  Wainamoinen  himself 
singing  at  their  bridal  feast,  and  again  instructiag  the 
bride  to  be  all  love  and  submission  and  to  expect  nothing 
save  bitterness  and  hardship  from  marriage.  Having  con- 
eluded  his  song  by  praising  the  father  who  built  the  house, 
the  inother  who  keeps  it,  and  having  blessed  bridegroom 
and  bride,  Wainamoinen  departs  for  the  Land  of  the  Dead, 
to  borrow  an  auger  to  repair  his  sled,  which  has  fallen  to 
pieces  while  he  sang. 

Bune  XXVI.  Meanwhile  Lemminkainen,  angry  because 
he  alone  has  received  no  invitation  to  the  wedding  banquet, 
decides,  in  spite  of  his  mother's  advice,  to  go  forth  and 
take  his  revenge.  Although  he  has  to  overcome  a  flaming 
eagle,  pass  through  a  pit  of  fire,  slay  a  wolf  and  a  bear,  and 
destroy  a  wall  of  snakes  mounting  guard  at  the  entrance  of 
Lapland  before  he  can  reach  his  destination,  his  spells  and 
incantations  safely  overcome  these  and  other  dire  perils. 


THE  KALEVAIA  385 

Bunes  XXVII  and  XXVIII.  Reaching  Northland  at 
last,  Lemminkainen  slays  the  husband  of  Louhi,  from  whom 
he  escapes  before  she  can  attack  him.  His  mother  now 
warns  him  his  foes  will  pursue  him  and  advises  him  to  go 
to  the  Isle  of  Refuge,  situated  in  the  centre  of  the  Tenth 
Ocean,  and  abide  there  for  three  years,  pledging  himself 
not  to  fight  again  for  sixty  summers. 

BuTie  XXIX.  We  now  have  a  description  of  the  Isle 
of  Refuge,  where  Lemminkainen  tarries  three  whole  years 
with  the  sea-maidens,  who  bid  him  a  tender  farewell  when 
he  sails  away  again.  He  has,  however,  proved  neglectful 
toward  one  of  them,  a  Spinster,  who  curses  him,  vowing  he 
will  suffer  many  things  in  return  for  his  neglect.  True  to 
her  prediction,  he  encounters  many  dangers  on  the  home- 
ward journey,  and  finds  his  house  reduced  to  ashes  and  his 
parents  gone !  But,  although  he  mourns  for  them  as  dead, 
he  soon  discovers  them  hiding  in  the  forest,  to  escape  the 
fury  of  the  Lapps. 

Bune  XXX.  To  punish  these  foes  Lemminkainen  now 
sets  out  for  the  north,  taking  with  him  Tiera,  hero  of  the 
broadsword,  who  is  to  help  him.  Aware  of  his  coming, 
Louhi  bids  her  son  Frost  stop  them  by  holding  their  vessel 
fast  in  the  ice,  but  Lemminkainen  trudges  over  the  ice, 
hurls  the  Frost-God  into  the  fire,  and,  somewhat  discour- 
aged, returns  home. 

Bunes  XXXI,  XXXII,  and  XXXIII.  During  this  time 
a  slave,  KuHerwoinen,  the  son  of  Evil,  has  been  sold  to 
Ilmarinen  to  serve  as  his  shepherd.  The  Rainbow  Maiden 
therefore  sends  him  forth  with  her  cattle,  giving  him  a  loaf 
of  bread  as  sole  sustenance.  When  the  son  of  Evil  attempts 
to  cut  this  bread,  he  breaks  his  knife,  for  the  housewife  has 
baked  a  flint-stone  in  it.  In  his  anger  the  shepherd  con- 
jures up  wolves  and  bears,  which  devour  the  cattle,  and 
which  he  drives  home  in  their  stead  after  dark.  When  the 
Rainbow  Maiden  therefore  unsuspectingly  tries  to  milk 
them,  she  is  instantly  devoured  by  these  wild  beasts. 

Bunes  XXXIV  and  XXXV.  Having  thus  effected  his 
revenge,  the  Spirit  of  Evil  hurries  away  to  his  tribe-folk, 

25 


THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

who  bid  him  perform  sundry  tasks,  in  the  course  of  which 
he  crowns  his  evil  deeds  by  assaulting  a  sister  who  was  lost 
in  infancy,  and  whom  he  therefore  fails  to  recognize.  On 
discovering  the  identity  of  her  ravisher,  the  unhappy  girl 
throws  herself  into  the  river,  where  she  perishes. 

Eune  XXXVI.  Forbidden  by  his  mother  to  commit 
suicide  in  punishment  for  his  crime,  Kullerwoinen  decides 
to  seek  death  on  the  field  of  battle.  Although  the  various 
members  of  his  family  see  him  depart  without  regret,  his 
mother  assures  him  nothing  can  destroy  her  love  for  her 
son. 

"  Canst  not  fathom  love  maternal, 
Canst  not  smother  her  affection; 
Bitterly  I'll  mourn  thy  downfall, 
I  would  weep  if  thou  shouldst  perish, 
Shouldst  thou  leave  my  race  forever; 
I  would  weep  in  court  or  cabin. 
Sprinkle  all  these  fields  with  tear-drops. 
Weep  great  rivers  to  the  ocean. 
Weep  to  melt  the  snows  of  Northland, 
Make  the  hillocks  green  with  weeping. 
Weep  at  morning,  weep  at  evening. 
Weep  three  years  in  bitter  sorrow 
O'er  the  death  of  Kullerwoinen!  " 

Kullerwoinen,  armed  with  a  magic  sword,  does  great 
slaughter  among  his  foes,  and  returns  home  only  to  find  aU 
his  kin  have  perished.  While  he  mourns  their  death,  his 
mother's  spirit  bids  him  follow  his  watch-dog — the  only 
living  creature  left  him.  During  this  strange  promenade, 
coming  to  the  spot  where  he  assaulted  his  sister,  Kuller- 
woinen falls  upon  his  magic  sword  and  dies,  an  episode 
which  inspires  Wainamoinen  with  these  words  of  wisdom: 

"  If  the  child  is  not  well  nurtured. 
Is  not  rocked  and  led  uprightly. 
Though  he  grow  to  years  of  manhood. 
Bear  a  strong  and  shapely  body. 
He  will  never  know  discretion. 
Never  eat  the  bread  of  honor. 
Never  drink  the  cup  of  wisdom." 

Eune  XXXVII  and  XXXVIII.  Meantime  Ilmarinen, 
after  grieving  three  months  for  the  loss  of  the  Rainbow 
Maiden,  proceeds  to  fashion  himself  a  wife  out  of  gold  and 


THE  KALEVALA  387 

silver,  but,  as  she  is  lifeless  and  unresponsive,  he  offers  her 
to  Wainamoinen, — ^who  refuses  her, — ^and  travels  north- 
ward once  more  to  woo  a  sister  of  his  former  bride.  On 
arriving  at  Louhi  's  house, — ^undeterred  by  many  evil  omens 
which  have  crossed  his  path, — ^Ilmarinen  sues  for  a  bride. 
Louhi  reproaches  him  for  the  treatment  her  first  daughter 
has  undergone,  but,  although  the  second  maiden  refuses  to 
foUow  him,  he  boldly  carries  her  off  by  force.  She  is,  how- 
ever, so  unhappy  with  him  that  the  blacksmith  finally 
changes  her  into  a  sea-gull. 

"  I  have  changed  the  hateful  virgin 
To  a  sea-gull  on  the  ocean; 
Now  she  calls  above  the  waters. 
Screeches  from  the  ocean-islands. 
On  the  rocks  she  calls  and  murmurs. 
Vainly  calling  for  a  suitor." 

Bunes  XXXIX,  XL,  and  XLI.  To  comfort  himself, 
Ilmarinen  concludes  he  would  like  to  have  the  Sampo, 
and  persuades  Wainamoinen  and  Lemminkainen  to  accom- 
pany him  northward  to  get  it.  This  time  they  sail  in  a 
magic  ship,  which  is  stranded  on  the  shoulders  of  a  huge 
pike.  Wainamoinen  kills  this  fish,  and  from  its  bones  and 
sinews  fashions  the  first  harp,  an  instrument  so  wonderful 
that  none  but  he  can  play  it,  but,  whenever  he  touches  its 
strings,  trees  dance  about  him,  wild  animals  crouch  at  hia 
feet,  and  the  hearts  of  men  are  filled  with  rapture. 

All  of  Northland  stopped  and  listened. 

Every  creature  in  the  forest, 

All  the  beasts  that  haunt  the  woodlands. 

On  their  nimble  feet  came  bounding, 

Came  to  listen  to  his  playing, 

Came  to  hear  his  songs  of  joyance. 

The  music  which  he  makes  is  so  touching  that  it  draws 
tears  even  from  the  player's  eyes,  tears  which  drop  down 
into  the  sea,  where  they  are  transformed  into  pearls,  which 
are  brought  to  him  by  a  duck. 

Gathered  Wainamoinen's  tear-drops 
From  the  blue  sea's  pebbly  bottom. 
From  the  deep,  pellucid  waters; 


388  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

Brought  them  to  the  great  magician. 
Beautifully  formed  and  colored. 
Glistening  in  the  silver  sunshine. 
Glimmering  in  the  golden  moonlight. 
Many-colored  as  the  rainbow. 
Fitting  ornaments  for  heroes, 
Jewels  for  the  maids  of  beauty. 
This  the  origin  of  sea-pearls 
And  the  blue-duck's  b^uteous  plumage. 

Runes  XLII  and  XLIII.  Having  lulled  the  Spirits  of 
Evil  to  sleep  with  magic  music,  Wainamoinen  and  Ilmarinen 
go  iu  quest  of  the  Sampo,  which  they  find  hidden  in  the 
bosom  of  a  magic  mountain  and  bear  away  in  triumph.  The 
spell  they  have  laid  upon  aU  living  creatures  is  broken  only 
when  Louhi  discovers  her  loss  and  sets  out  in  pursuit  of  the 
robbers  of  her  treasure. 

In  various  guises  she  attacks  them,  finally  transf  ormiag 
herself  into  a  huge  eagle  and  pouncing  down  upon  the 
Sampo,  which  she  tries  to  bear  away  in  her  talons.  But 
Wainamoinen  fights  this  aggressor  to  such  good  purpose 
that  it  drops  the  Sampo  into  the  sea,  where  it  is  dashed  to 
pieces !  Not  only  has  Wainamoinen  lost  the  Sampo, — ^whose 
fragments  he  collects  and  buries  so  that  they  may  bring 
prosperity  to  his  people, — ^but  his  magic  harp  has  also  fallen 
overboard  during  his  fight  with  Louhi. 

Runes  XLIY  and  XLV.  Wainamoinen  therefore  pro- 
ceeds to  construct  a  second  harp  from  the  wood  of  the 
birch,  while  Louhi,  who  has  returned  northward  but  who 
stiU  owes  him  a  grudge,  sends  down  from  the  north  nine 
fell  diseases,— colic,  pleurisy,  fever,  ulcer,  plague,  con- 
sumption, gout,  sterility,  and  cancer, — all  of  which  Waina- 
moinen routs  by  means  of  the  vapor  baths  which  he 
discovers. 

Rune  XLVI.  Hearing  that  Wainamoinen  prospers  in 
spite  of  all  she  can  do,  Louhi  is  so  disappointed  that  she 
sends  a  magic  bear  to  devour  him  and  his  brother.  But, 
hearing  this  monster  is  coming,  Wainamoinen  directs  the 
blacksmith  to  make  him  a  wonderful  spear,  with  which  he 
slays  the  bear,  whose  skin  and  flesh  prove  a  boon  to  his 
people. 


THE  KALEVAIA  389 

Bums  XLYII  and  XLVIII.  Still  angry,  Louhi  steals 
from  Wainamoinen  the  sun,  moon,  and  fire,  and  thus  all  the 
hom^  in  Kalevala  are  cold,  dark,  and  cheerless.  Gazing 
downward,  Ukko,  king  of  the  heaven,  wonders  because  he 
sees  no  light,  and  sends  down  a  flash  of  lightning,  which, 
after  striking  the  earth,  drops  into  the  sea  and  is  swallowed 
by  a  pike.  This  fiery  mouthful,  however,  proves  so  un- 
comfortable, that  the  fish  swims  madly  around  until  swal- 
lowed by  another.  Learning  that  the  fire-ball  is  now  in  a 
pike,  Wainamoinen  fishes  until  he  secures  that  greedy 
denizen  of  the  deep.  Opening  Ms  quarry,  he  seizes  the 
lightning,  which  burns  his  fingers  so  badly  that  he  drops  it, 
until  he  decides  to  convey  it  to  his  people  in  the  wood  of 
an  elm. 

Bune  XLIX.  Although  fire  is  thus  restored  to  mankind, 
the  sun  and  the  moon  are  still  missing.  Ilmarinen  there- 
fore forges  a  magnificent  silver  moon  and  golden  sun,  in  the 
vain  hope  of  replacing  the  orbs  which  Louhi  has  stolen, 
and  which  are  hidden  in  the  cave  where  she  once  treasured 
the  Sampo.  Discovering  this  fact  by  magic  means,  Waina- 
moinen starts  out  in  quest  of  sun  and  moon,  and,  by  chang- 
ing himself  into  a  pike  to  cross  the  river,  reaches  the  land 
of  Louhi,  defeats  her  sons,  and  finds  the  orbs  he  is  seeking 
guarded  by  a  multitude  of  snakes.  Although  Wainamoinen 
slays  these  keepers,  he  cannot  recover  the  captive  sun  or 
moon  until  Louhi,  who  has  meantime  assumed  the  form  of 
an  eagle  and  then  of  a  dove,  sends  them  back  to  Kalevala, 
where  their  return  is  hailed  with  joy. 

"Greetings  to  thee,  Sun  of  fortune j 
Greetings  to  thee,  Moon  of  good-luck; 
Welcome   sunshine,   welcome   moonlight; 
Golden  is  the  dawn  of  morning! 
Free  art  thou,  0  Sun  of  silver, 
Free  again,  O  Moon  beloved. 
As  the  sacred  cuckoo's  singing. 
As  the  ring-dove's  liquid  cooing. 

"Rise,  thou  silver  Sun,  each  morning. 
Source  of  light  and  life  hereafter. 
Bring  us  daily  joyful  greetings. 
Fill  our  homes  with  peace  and  plenty. 


390  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

That  our  sowing,  fishing,  hunting. 
May  be  prospered  by  thy  coming. 
Travel  on  thy  daily  journey. 
Let  the  Moon  be  ever  with  thee; 
Glide  along  thy  way  rejoicing, 
End  thy  journeyings  in  slumber; 
Best  at  evening  in  the  ocean. 
When  thy  daily  cares  have  ended. 
To  the  good  of  all  thy  people. 
To  the  pleasure  of  Wainola, 
To  the  joy  of  Kalevala!  " 

Bime  L.  Meanwhile  there  had  been  dwelling  in  the 
Northland  a  happy  maiden  named  Mariatta,  who,  wander- 
ing on  the  hillsides,  once  asked  the  cuckoo  how  long  she 
would  remain  unmarried,  and  heard  a  magic  voice  bid  her 
gather  a  certain  berry.  No  sooner  had  she  done  so  than  the 
berry  popped  into  her  mouth,  and  soon  after  she  bore  a 
child,  which  being  the  offspring  of  a  berry  was  to  be  called 
Flower.  Because  her  mother  indignantly  cast  her  off,  she 
wandered  about  seeking  a  place  where  she  could  give  birth 
to  her  child.  She  was  finally  compelled  to  take  refuge  in 
the  manger  of  the  fiery  steed  of  Hisi,  where  her  infant  was 
charitably  warmed  by  the  firesteed's  breath.  But  once, 
while  the  mother  was  slumbering,  the  child  vanished,  and 
the  mother  vE^inly  sought  it  until  the  Sun  informed  her  she 
would  find  it  sleeping  among  the  reeds  and  rushes  in  Swamp- 
land. 

Mariatta,  child  of  beauty. 
Virgin-mother  of  the  Northland, 
Straightway  seeks  her  babe  in  Swamp-land, 
Finds  him  in  the  reeds  and  rushes; 
Takes  the  young  child  on  her  bosom 
To  the  dwelling  of  her  father. 

Mariatta  soon  discovered  him  there,  growing  in  grace  and 
beauty,  but  priests  refused  to  baptize  him  because  he  was 
considered  a  wizard.  When  Wainamoinen  sentenced  the 
mother  to  death,  the  infant,  although  only  two  weeks  old, 
hotly  reproached  him,  declaring  that,  although  guilty  of 
many  follies,  his  people  have  always  forgiven  him.  Hear- 
ing this,  Wainamoinen,  justly  rebuked,  baptized  the  child. 


THE  KALEVALA  391 

who  in  time  grew  up  to  be  a  hero  and  became  the  greatest 
warrior  in  the  land. 

Wainamoinen,  having  grown  feeble  with  passing  years, 
finally  built  for  himself  a  copper  vessel,  wherein,  after  sing- 
ing a  farewell  song,  he  sailed  "out  into  the  west,"  and 
vanished  in  the  midst  of  the  sunset  clouds,  leaving  behind 
him  as  an  inheritance  to  his  people  his  wondrous  songs. 

Thus  the  ancient  Wainamoinen, 
In  his  copper-banded  vessel. 
Left  his  tribe  in.  Kalevala, 
Sailing  o'er  the  rolling  billows. 
Sailing  through  the  azure  vapors, 
Sailing  through  the  dusk  of  evening. 
Sailing  to  the  flery  sunset, 
To  the  higher-landed  regions. 
To  the  lower  verge  of  heaven; 
Quickly  gained  the  far  horizon. 
Gained  the  purple-colored  harbor. 
There  his  bark  he  firmly  anchored, 
Bested  in  his  boat  of  copper; 
But  he  left  his  harp  of  magic. 
Left  his  songs  and  wisdom-sayings. 
To  the  lasting  joy  of  Suomi. 

The  poem  concludes  with  an  epilogue,  wherein  the  bard 
declares  it  contains  many  of  the  folk-tales  of  his  native 
country,  and  that  as  far  as  rhythm  is  concerned — 

"Nature  was  my  only  teacher. 
Woods  and  waters  my  instructors." 


THE  EPICS  OF    CENTRAL  EUROPE  AND  OF 
THE  BALKAN  PENINSULA 

German  being  talked  in  a  large  part  of  Switzerland  and 
of  Austria,  theise  countries  claim  a  great  share  in  the 
Teutonic  epics,  many  of  whose  episodes  are  located  withia 
their  borders.  Both  the  Swiss  and  the  Austrian  nations 
are  formed,  however,  of  various  peoples,  so  while  some  of 
the  Swiss  boast  of  German  blood  and  traditions,  others 
are  more  closely  related  to  the  French  or  to  the  Italians. 
To  study  Swiss  literature  one  must  therefore  seek  its  sources 
in  German,  French,  and  Italian  books.  It  is,  though,  con- 
sidered very  remarkable  that  there  exists  no  great  Swiss 
epic  on  the  deeds  of  William  Tell,  a  national  hero  whose 
literary  fame  rests  almost  exclusively  upon  folk-tales  and 
upon  Schiller's  great  drama.^ 

No  political  division  boasts  of  a  greater  mixture  of  races 
and  languages  than  the  Austro-Hungarian  empire,  whose 
literature  is  therefore  like  a  many-faceted  jewel.  Aside 
from  many  Germans,  there  are  within  the  borders  of  the 
empire  large  numbers  of  Czechs  or  Bohemians,  who  in 
the  thirteenth  century  delighted  in  translations  of  the 
Alexandreis,  of  Tristram,  and  of  other  epic  poems  and 
romances,  and  whose  first  printed  volume  in  1468  was  a 
reproduction  of  the  Trojan  Cycle. 

There  are  also  the  Hungarians,  whose  literary  language 
continued  to  be  Latin  until  after  the  Reformation,  and 
whose  earliest  epics  treat  of  such  themes  as  the  "Life  of 
St.  Catherine  of  Alexandria."  It  was,  therefore,  only  in 
the  seventeenth  century  that  Zrinyi,  Gyongyosi,  Liszti,  and 
other  poets  began  to  compose  Magyar  epics  which  roused 
their  countrymen  to  rebel  against  their  foes,  the  Turks.  In 
the  nineteenth  century  patriotism  was  further  fostered 
among  this  people  by  the  stirring  epics  of  Czuczor,  Petofi 

'■  See  the  author's  "  Legends  of  Switzerland." 
392 


CENTRAL  EUROPE  AND  BALKAN  EPICS    393 

(whose  masterpiece  is  Janes  Vilez) ,  and  of  Vorosmarty,  and 
then,  too,  were  compiled  the  first  collections  of  genuine 
Hungarian  folk-tales.  Among  these  the  adventures  of  the 
national  Samson  (Toldi)  have  served  as  basis  for  Arany'a 
modem  national  epic  in  twelve  cantos. 

Part  of  Poland  being  incorporated  in  the  Austro-Hun- 
garian  empire,  it  cannot  be  amiss  to  mention  here  the  fact 
that  its  literature  is  particularly  rich  in  folk-tales,  animal 
epics,  apologues,  religious  legends,  and  hero  tales,  although 
none  of  the  poetical  versions  of  these  works  seem  to  be  of 
sufficient  weight  or  importance  to  require  detailed  treat- 
ment in  this  volume. 

With  the  exception  of  ancient  Greece, — ^whose  epic  litera- 
ture is  so  rich  and  still  exerts  such  an  influence  as  to  demand 
separate  treatment, — there  do  not  seem  to  be  any  epics  of 
great  literary  value  among  the  various  races  now  occupying 
the  Balkan  Peninsula.  Old  Rumanian  literature,  written 
in  the  Slavic  tongue,  boasts  a  few  rhymed  chronicles  which 
are  sometimes  termed  epics,  while  modem  Rumanian  prides 
itself  upon  Joan  Delaemi's  locally  famous  Epic  of  the 
Gypsies. 

In  Servia  one  discovers  ancient  epic  songs  celebrating 
the  great  feats  of  national  heroes  and  heroines,  and  relating 
particularly  to  the  country's  prolonged  struggle  for  inde- 
pendence. After  translating  the  main  works  of  Tasso  from 
the  Italian  for  the  benefit  of  his  countrymen,  one  of  their 
poets — Gundulitch — composed  a  twenty-canto  epic  en- 
titled Osman,  wherein  he  described  the  war  between  the 
Poles  and  Turks  in  1621.  The  Servian  dramatist  Palmotitch 
later  composed  the  Christiad,  or  life  of  Christ,  and  in  the 
nineteenth  century  Milutinovitch  wrote  a  Servian  epio, 
while  Mazuranie  and  Bogovitch  penned  similar  poems  in 
Croatian.  As  for  the  Bulgarians  they  do  not  seem  to  have 
any  epic  of  note. 

Turkish  literature  having  been  successively  under 
Persian,  Arabic,  and  French  influence,  has  no  character- 
istic epics,  although  it  possesses  wonderful  cycles  of  fairy- 


394  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

and  folk-tales, — material  from  which,  excellent  epics  could 
be  evolved  were  it  handled  by  a  poet  of  genius.  The  Asiatic 
part  of  Turkey  being  occupied  mainly  by  Arabians,  who 
profess  the  Mohammedan  religion,  it  is  natural  that  the 
sayings  and  doings  of  Mohammed  should  form  no  small 
part  of  their  literature.  The  most  important  of  these  col- 
lections in  regard  to  the  Prophet  were  made  by  al-Bukhari, 
Muslem,  and  al-Tirmidhi. 


HEBREW  AND  EARLY  CHRISTIAN  EPICS 

JOB 

The  Book  of  Job  ranks  as  "one  of  that  group  of  five 
or  six  world  poems  that  stand  as  universal  expressions  of 
the  human  spirit."  For  that  reason  it  is  considered  the 
representative  Hebrew  epic,  and,  as  it  depicts  the  conflicts 
of  a  human  soul,  it  has  also  been  termed  the  "epic  of  the 
inner  life." 

Written  after  the  exile, — ^probably  in  the  latter  part  of 
the  fourth  century  B.C., — ^it  incorporates  various  older 
poems,  for  the  theme  is  thought  to  antedate  the  Exodus.  In 
the  prologue  we  have  a  description  of  Job,  a  model  sheik 
of  the  land  of  Uz,  whose  righteousness  wins  such  complete 
approval  from  God  that  the  Almighty  proudly  quotes  his 
servant  before  his  assembled  council  as  a  perfect  man. 
"The  Adversary,"  Satan,  now  dramatically  presents  him- 
self, and,  when  taunted  by  God  with  Job's  virtues,  sar- 
castically retorts  it  is  easy  to  be  good  when  favored  with 
continual  prosperity. 

Thus  challenged,  and  feeling  sure  of  his  subject,  God 
allows  Satan  to  do  his  worst  and  thus  test  the  real  worth  of 
Job.  In  quick  succession  we  now  behold  a  once  happy 
and  prosperous  man  deprived  of  children,  wealth,  and 
health, — ^misfortunes  so  swift  and  dire  that  his  friends  in 
lengthy  speeches  insist  he  has  offended  God,  for  such  trials 
as  his  can  only  be  sent  in  punishment  for  grievous  sins. 
The  exhortations  of  Job's  three  argumentative  friends,  as 
well  as  of  a  later-comer,  and  of  his  wife,  extend  over  a 
period  of  seven  days,  and  cover  three  whole  cycles;  but, 
in  spite  of  all  they  say.  Job  steadfastly  refuses  to  curse 
God  as  they  advise. 

Unaware  of  the  Heavenly  council  or  of  the  fact  that  he 
is  being  tested.  Job,  in  spite  of  trials  and  friends,  patiently 
reiterates  "The  Lord  gave  and  the  Lord  hath  taken  away," 

S95 


396  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

and,  when  Ms  wife  bids  him  curse  God  and  die,  pathetically 
inquires,  "What!  shall  we  receive  good  at  the  hand  of 
God,  and  shall  we  not  receive  evil?" 

There  are,  besides,  whole  passages  in  this  book  where  Job 
gives  way  to  his  overwhelming  grief,  these  laments  being 
evidently  either  fragments  from  another,  older  version  of 
the  story,  or  tokens  that  even  such  fortitude  as  his  gave 
way  under  pressure  of  disease  and  of  his  friends'  in- 
judicious attempts  at  consolation.  These  laments  exceed 
in  pathos  any  other  Hebrew  poem,  while  Job 's  descriptions 
of  God's  power  and  wisdom  attain  to  a  superbly  exalted 
strain. 

Having  silenced  Zopher,  Eliphaz,  and  Bildad,  by  assur- 
ing them  he  will  be  vindicated  in  heaven, — ^if  not  sooner, — 
Job  watches  them  and  his  last  friend  depart,  and  is  finally 
left  alone.  Then  only,  and  in  an  epilogue,  we  are  informed 
that,  having  thus  been  tried  in  the  furnace  of  affliction 
and  proved  true  gold,  Job  receives  from  God,  as  reward, 
a  double  measure  of  health,  wealth,  and  descendants,  so 
that  all  men  may  know  he  has  not  sinned  and  that  his 
unshaken  faith  found  favor  in  the  eyes  of  God. 

Some  Jewish  writers  quote  Ecclesiastes  as  their  best 
sample  of  didactic  epic,  and  others  would  fain  rank  aa 
epics  the  tales  of  Naomi  and  Ruth,  of  Esther  and  Ahas- 
uerus,  and  even  the  idyllic  Song  of  Songs  by  Solomon. 
Early  Christian  writers  also  see  in  Revelations,  or  the 
Apocalypse,  by  St.  John,  the  Seer  of  Patmos,  a  brilliant 
example  of  the  mystical  or  prophetic  epic. 


ARABIAN  AND  PERSIAN  EPICS 

"The  long  caravan  marches  across  the  monotonous 
deserts,  when  the  camel's  steady  swing  bends  the  rider's 
body  almost  double,  taught  the  Arab  to  sing  rhymes."  But 
the  poems  thus  sung  by  camel-drivers  are  generally  short 
and  never  reach  epic  might  or  length.  None  of  those  older 
poems  now  exist,  and  it  was  only  when  travellers  applied 
the  Syrian  alphabet  to  the  Arabic  tongue  in  the  sixth 
century  that  written  records  began  to  be  kept  of  favorite 
compositions.  Poets  were  then  looked  upon  as  wise  men, 
or  magicians,  and  called  upon,  like  Balaam,  in  times  of 
danger,  to  utter  spells  or  incantations  against  the  foe. 

The  most  ancient  pre-Islamic  poems  were  written  in 
golden  ink,  suspended  in  the  Kaaba  at  Mecca,  and  are  known 
in  Arabia  as  the  "necklace  of  pearls." 

Many  of  these  poems — ^which  replace  epics  in  the  East 
— ^follow  fixed  rules,  the  author  being  bound  to  "begin  by 
a  reference  to  the  forsaken  camping  grounds.  Next  he  must 
lament,  and  pray  his  comrades  to  halt,  while  he  calls  up  the 
memory  of  the  dwellers  who  had  departed  in  search  of  other 
encampments  and  fresh  water  springs.  Then  he  begins  to 
touch  on  love  matters,  bewailing  the  tortures  to  which  his 
passion  puts  him,  and  thus  attracting  interest  and  attention 
to  himself.  He  recounts  his  hard  and  toilsome  journeying 
in  the  desert,  dwells  on  the  lean  condition  of  his  steed,  which 
he  lauds  and  describes,  and  finally,  with  the  object  of  obtain- 
ing those  proofs  of  generosity  which  were  tiie  bard's  ex- 
pected meed  and  sole  support,  he  winds  up  with  a  panegyric 
of  the  prince  or  governor  in  whose  presence  the  poem  is 
recited." 

Throughout  the  Bast,  professional  story-tellers  still 
spend  their  lives  travelling  about  and  entertaining  audi- 
ences in  towns  and  tents  with  poems  and  legends,  many  of 
the  latter  treating  of  desert  feuds  and  battles  and  forming 
part  of  a  coUeetion  known  as  the  Arab  Days. 

s»7 


398  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

With  the  founding  of  Bagdad  by  the  Abbasides,  Persian 
influence  begins  to  make  itself  felt,  not  only  in  politics  but 
in  literature  also,  although  Arabic  was  the  sole  language 
of  the  empire  of  the  Caliphs.  The  greatest  literary  work 
in  this  literature  is  the  famous  "Arabian  Nights,"  an 
anonymous  collection  of  tales  connected  by  a  thread  of 
narrative.  Its  purport  is  that  an  Eastern  monarch,  "to 
protect  himself  against  the  craft  and  iafidelity  of  women, 
resolves  that  the  wife  he  chooses  him  every  day  shall  be 
put  to  death  before  the  next."  Two  sisters  devote  their 
lives  to  put  an  end  to  such  massacres.  The  eldest,  who  be- 
comes the  king's  wife,  begs  that  her  sister  may  spend  the 
last  night  of  her  life  in  their  room.  At  dawn  the  royal 
bride  entertains  her  sister  with  a  story  which  is  cleverly  left 
unfinished.  Such  is  the  sultan's  curiosity  to  hear  the  end, 
that  the  bride  of  a  night  is  not  slain,  as  usual.  But  as  soon 
as  one  tale  is  ended  another  is  begun,  and  for  one  thousand 
and  one  nights  the  clever  narrator  keeps  her  audience  of 
two  in  suspense.  Most  of  the  tales  told  in  this  collection 
are  obviously  of  Persian  origin,  and  are  contained  in  the 
Hasar  Afsana  (The  Thousand  Tales)  which  was  translated 
into  Arabic  in  the  tenth  century.  But  some  authorities 
claim  that  these  stories  originated  in  India  and  were  brought 
into  Persia  before  Alexander's  conquests.  These  tales  are 
so  popular  that  they  have  been  translated  into  every  civil- 
ized language  and  are  often  termed  prose  epics. 

Arabic  also  boasts  a  romance  of  chivalry  entitled  "Ro- 
mance of  'Antar,'  "  ascribed  to  AI  Asmai  (739-831),  which 
contains  the  chief  events  in  Arab  history  before  the  advent 
of  Mahomet  and  is  hence  often  termed  the  Arab  Iliad. 

The  "Romance  of  Beni  Hilal"  and  that  of  "Abu  Zaid," 
which  form  part  of  a  cycle  of  38  legends,  are  popular  in 
Egypt  to  this  day. 

THE  SHAH-NAMEH,  OR  EPIC  OF  KINGS 

This  Persian  epic  was  composed  by  the  poet  Abul  Kasin 
Mansur,  who  sang  so  sweetly  that  his  master  termed  him 
Pirdusi,  or  Singer  of  Paradise,  by  which  name  he  is  best 


THE  SHAH-NAMEH  399 

known,  although  he  is  also  called  the  "Homer  of  the  East." 
Mahmoud,  Shah  of  Persia,  who  lived  about  920  B.C.,  de- 
cided to  have  the  chronicles  of  the  land  put  into  rhyme,  and 
engaged  Pirdusi  for  this  piece  of  work,  promising  him  a 
thousand  gold  pieces  for  every  thousand  distichs  he  fin- 
ished. Firdusi,  who  had  long  wished  to  build  stone  embank- 
ments for  the  river  whose  overflow  devastated  his  native 
town,  begged  the  king  to  withhold  payment  until  the  work 
was  done. 

At  the  end  of  liiirty-three  years,  when  the  poem  was 
completed,  the  grand  vizier,  after  counting  its  sixty-thou- 
sand couplets,  concluded  not  to  pay  for  it  in  gold,  and  sent 
instead  sixty  thousand  small  pieces  of  silver.  On  receiving 
so  inadequate  a  reward,  Pirdusi  became  so  angry  that, 
after  distributing  the  money  among  the  bearers  and  writing 
an  insulting  poem  to  the  king,  he  fled  first  to  Mazinderan 
and  then  to  Bagdad,  where  he  lingered  until  shortly  before 
his  death,  when  he  returned  to  Tons.  Tradition  claims  that 
the  Shah,  hearing  he  had  come  home, — and  having  mean- 
time discovered  the  trickery  of  his  minister, — ^immediately 
sent  Pirdusi  sixty  thousand  pieces  of  gold,  but  that  the 
money  arrived  only  as  his  corpse  was  being  lowered  into  the  . 
tomb!  As  the  poet's  daughter  indignantly  refused  to 
accept  this  tardy  atonement,  another  relative  took  the 
money  and  built  the  dike  which  Pirdusi  had  longed  to  see. 

We  know  that  Persian  monarchs  made  sundry  attempts 
to  collect  the  annals  of  their  country,  but  these  collectidns 
were  scattered  at  the  time  of  the  Arabian  conquest,  so  that 
only  a  few  documents  were  brought  back  to  Persia  later 
on.  Although  the  poem  of  Pirdusi  claims  to  be  a  complete 
history  of  Persia,  it  contains  so  many  marvels  that,  were 
it  not  for  its  wonderful  diction,  it  would  not  have  survived, 
although  he  declares  he  has  written, 

"  What  no  tide 
Shall  ever  wash  away,  what  men 
Unborn   shall  read  o'er  ocean  wide."^ 


'AH  the  quotations  in  this  article  taken  from  the  Shah-Nameh 
are  from  Champeon's  translation. 


400  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

The  poem  opens  with  the  description  of  a  ruler  so 
prosperous  that  the  Spirit  of  Evil  sent  a  mighty  devil 
(deev)  to  conquer  him.  Thanks  to  the  effort  of  this  demon, 
the  king's  son  was  slain,  and,  as  the  monarch  died  of  grief, 
it  was  his  grandson  who  succeeded  him.  During  a  forty- 
centuries  reign  this  king  gave  fire  to  his  people,  taught  them 
irrigation  and  agriculture,  and  bestowed  names  on  all  the 
beasts. 

His  son  and  successor  taught  mortals  how  to  spin  and 
weave,  and  the  demons,  in  hopes  of  destroying  him,  im- 
parted to  him  the  arts  of  reading  and  writing.  Next  came 
the  famous  Persian  hero  Jemshid,  who  is  said  to  have 
reigned  seven  hundred  years,  and  to  have  divided  the 
Persian  nation  into  four  classes, — ^priests,  warriors,  artisans, 
and  husbandmen.  During  his  reign,  which  is  the  Age  of 
Gold  of  Persia,  the  world  was  divided  into  separate  parts, 
and  the  city  of  Persepolis  f  oimded,  where  two  columns  of 
the  ruined  royal  palace  stUl  bear  the  name  of  the  monarch 
who  instituted  the  national  festival  of  Persia  (Neurouz) . 

Having  accomplished  all  these  wonderful  things,  Jem- 
shid became  so  conceited  that  he  wished  to.  be  worshipped, 
whereupon  a  neighboring  volcano  vomited  smoke  and  ashes 
and  innumerable  snakes  infested  the  land.  Then  Prince 
Zohak  of  Arabia  was  sent  by  the  Evil  Spirit  to  drive  away 
Jemshid  and  to  take  possession  of  his  throne.  Although 
at  first  Zohak  was  very  virtuous,  the  Evil  Spirit,  having 
gotten  him  in  his  power,  began  to  serve  him  in  guise  of 
a  cook.  Once,  having  succeeded  in- pleasing  him,  he  begged 
permission  as  reward  to  kiss  the  king  between  his  shoulders. 
But  no  sooner  had  this  demon's  lips  touched  the  royal  back 
than  two  black  serpents  sprang  up  there,  serpents  which 
could  not  be  destroyed,  and  which  could  only  be  kept  quiet 
by  being  fed  with  human  brains. 

"  If  life  hath  any  charm  for  thee. 
The  brains  of  men  their  food  must  be." 

I! 

Zohak,  "the  Serpent  King,"  as  he  is  now  invariably 
called,  was  therefore  obliged  to  prey  upon  his  subjects  to 


THE  SHAH-NAMEH  401 

satisfy  the  appetite  of  these  serpents,  and,  as  two  men 
were  required  daily  for  that  purpose  during  the  next  thou- 
sand years,  the  reabn  was  sorely  depopulated. 

The  serpents  still  on  human  brains  were  fed, 
And  every  day  two  youthful  victims  bled; 
The  sword,  still  ready,  thirsting  still  to  strike. 
Warrior  and  slave  were  sacrificed  alike. 

Naturally,  all  the  Persians  grew  to  loathe  their  monarch, 
and,  when  the  seventeenth  and  last  child  of  the  blacksmith 
Kavah  was  seized  to  feed  the  serpents,  this  man  rebelled, 
and,  raising  his  leathern  apron  as  a  standard,  rallied  the 
Persians  around  him.  He  then  informed  them  that,  if  they 
would  only  fight  beneath  "the  flag  of  Kavah," — which  is 
now  the  Persian  ensign, — ^he  would  give  them  as  king 
Feridoun,  a  son  of  Jemshid,  bom  during  his  exile.  Hear- 
ing this,  the  rebels  went  in  quest  of  Feridoun,  "the 
glorious, ' '  in  regard  to  whom  Zohak  has  been  favored  with 
sundry  visions,  although  he  had  been  brought  up  in  secret, 
his  sole  nurse  being  a  faithful  cow.  When  this  animal  died 
at  last,  the  grateful  Feridoun  made  a  mace  of  one  of  its  big 
bones,  and  armed  with  that  weapon,  defeated  Zohak,  who 
was  chained  to  a  mountain,  where  he  was  tortured  by  visions 
of  his  victims  for  a  thousand  years.  Meantime  Feridoun 
occupied  so  justly  the  throne  of  Persia — ^where  he  reigned 
some  five  hundred  years— that  his  realm  became  an  earthly 
Paradise. 

At  the  end  of  this  long  reign,  Feridoun  despatched  his 
three  sons  to  Arabia  in  quest  of  wives,  and  on  their  return 
proceeded  to  test  their  mettle  by  meeting  them  in  the  shape 
of  a  dragon.  While  the  eldest  son  retreated,  crying  that 
a  wise  and  prudent  man  never  strives  with  dragons,  the 
second  advanced  recklessly,  without  thinking  of  protecting 
himself.  The  third,  however,  set  to  work  in  a  business- 
like way,  not  only  to  rescue  his  foolhardy  brother,  but  to 
slay  the  dragon.  On  perceiving  this,  the  father  resumed 
his  wonted  form,  and  announced  he  would  divide  his  realm 
into  three  parts,  of  which  the  best  share,  Iran  or  Persia, 
26 


402  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

was  bestowed  upon  Trij,  the  son  who  had  shown  both 
courage  and  prudence. 

Not  long  after  this  division,  the  two  elder  brothers 
united  to  despoil  the  younger,  but,  although  they  succeeded 
in  slaying  him,  his  infant  daughter  was  brought  up  by  the 
aged  Feridoun,  and  in  due  time  gave  birth  to  a  son,  Minu- 
chir,  destined  to  avenge  his  grandfather's  death  by  defeat- 
ing and  slaying  his  great-uncles.  Having  done  this,  Minu- 
chir  occupied  the  throne,  while  his  favorite  vassal  was  made 
governor  of  one  of  the  newly  conquered  realms.  This 
swarthy,  dark-haired  man  proved  perfectly  happy  in  these 
new  estates  until  he  heard  his  wife  had  given  birth  to  a  son 
with  snow-white  hair. 

"  No  human  being  of  this  earth  could  give  to  such  a  monster  birth, 
He  must  be  of  the  demon  race,  though  human  still  in  form  and 

face. 
If  not  a  demon,  he  at  least,  appears  a  parti-colored  beast." 

Such  an  offspring  seeming  nothing  short  of  a  curse, 
the  father  had  little  Zal  exposed  on  Mt.  Alborz,  where  he 
expected  he  would  perish  in  a  brief  space  of  time. 

On  the  top  of  this  mountain  the  Simurgh,  or  Bird  of 
God, — a  marvellous  golden-feathered  eagle, — ^had  built  a 
nest  of  ebony  and  sandal-wood,  lined  with  spices,  around 
which  she  had  piled  all  manner  of  precious  stones,  whose 
glitter  pleased  her.  Hearing  the  cry  of  a  babe,  this  great 
bird  swooped  downward,  and,  fastening  her  talons  in  the 
child's  dress,  bore  him  safely  away  to  her  aerie,  where  she 
dropped  him  in  the  nest  beside  two  eaglets.  These  little 
birds  proved  kind  to  the  young  prince,  although  they  were 
able  to  leave  their  nest  long  before  he  could  walk  about 
and  play  with  the  precious  stones. 

It  was  only  when  Zal  was  about  eight  years  old  that 
his  father  suddenly  realized  he  had  committed  a  deadly  sin, 
and  was  correspondingly  relieved  to  learn  in  a  dream  that 
his  child  had  not  perished,  but  had  been  nursed  by  the 
Simurgh.  Hastening  to  the  mountain,  the  father  besought 
the  Bird  of  God  to  give  back  his  son,  whereupon  the  golden- 


THE  SHAH-NAMEH  403 

feathered  eagle,  after  taking  affectionate  leave  of  little 
Zal  (upon  whom  she  bestowed  a  feather  which  was  to  be 
cast  into  the  fire  in  time  of  need),  bore  him  back  to  his 
father. 

"  Having  watched  thee  with  fondness  hy  day  and  by  night. 
And  supplied  all  thy  wants  with  a  mother's  delight. 
Oh,  forget  not  thy  nurse — still  be  faithful  to  me. 
And  my  heart  will  be  ever  devoted  to  thee." 

The  father  now  brought  up  young  Zal,  who  soon  be- 
came so  remarkable  for  strength  and  bravery  that  he 
promised  to  become  the  greatest  warrior  the  world  had 
ever  known.  In  early  manhood  this  youth  journeyed  to 
Kabul,  where  he  beheld  the  lovely  Rudaveh,  who  belonged 
to  the  race  of  the  Serpent  King.  The  arrival  of  a  young 
but  white-haired  warrior  caused  such  a  sensation  at  court 
that  the  princess,  who  had  already  fallen  in  love  with  him 
on  hearsay,  became  anxious  to  meet  him. 

One  day,  when  the  maidens  were  gathering  roses  near 
his  pavilion,  Zal  shot  a  bird,  which  falling  in  their  midst 
gave  them  an  occasion  to  address  him.  He,  too,  had  heard 
so  much  about  the  loveliness  of  Rudaveh,  that  he  questioned 
her  attendants  and  gave  them  jewels  to  take  to  her.  Such 
gifts  quickly  paved  the  way  for  an  interview,  for  Rudaveh 
immediately  sent  for  Zal.  On  appearing  beneath  her 
window,  this  lover  began  so  sweet  a  serenade  that  the 
princess  stepped  out  in  her  balcony,  where,  loosening  her 
long  black  braids, — ^which  hung  down  to  the  ground, — she 
bade  Zal  use  them  to  climb  up  to  her.  He,  however,  gal- 
lantly refused,  for  fear  he  should  hurt  her,  and  deftly  fling- 
ing his  noose  upward  caught  it  fast  in  a  projection,  and 
thus  safely  reached  the  balcony,  where  this  Persian  Romeo 
acceptably  wooed  his  Juliet. 

The  royal  parents,  on  discovering  these  clandestine 
meetings,  questioned  the  young  man,  who  proved  his  in- 
telligence by  solving  six  riddles,  and,  after  giving  satis^ 
factory  tokens  of  his  other  qualifications,  was  allowed  to 
marry  the  princess,  for  the  oracles  predicted  that  from  this 


404  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

union  would  arise  a  hero  who  would  honor  his  native  land. 

Time  now  passed  happily  until  the  moment  came  when 
Budaveh's  life  was  in  imminent  danger.  In  his  quandary, 
Zal  flung  the  golden  feather  into  the  fire  with  so  trembling 
a  hand  that  it  fell  to  one  side  so  that  only  one  edge  was 
singed.  This  proved  sufficient,  however,  to  summon  the 
faithful  Simurgh,  who,  after  rapturously  caressing  her 
nursling,  whispered  in  his  ear  a  magic  word,  which  not 
only  enabled  him  to  save  the  life  of  his  dying  wife,  but 
also  assured  his  becoming  the  happy  father  of  a  stalwart 
son  named  Rustem. 

This  boy,  stronger  and  handsomer  than  any  child  yet 
bom,  required  no  less  than  ten  nurses,  and  after  being 
weaned  ate  as  much  as  five  men !  Such  being  the  case,  he 
was  able,  by  the  time  he  was  eight  years  of  age,  to  slay  a 
mad  white  elephant  with  a  single  stroke  of  his  fist.  Many 
similar  feats  were  performed  during  the  boyhood  of  this 
Persian  Hercules,  who  longed  to  fight  when  the  realm  was 
finally  invaded  by  the  Tartar  chief  Afrasiab  and  war  began 
to  devastate  the  land. 

Loud  neighed  the  steeds,  and  their  resounding  hoofs 
Shook  the  deep  caverns  of  the  earth;  the  dust 
Kose  up  in  clouds  and  hid  the  azure  heavens. — 
Bright  beamed  the  swords,  and  in  that  carnage  wide, 
Blood  flowed  like  water. 

When  the  Persians,  in  their  distress,  implored  Zal  to 
meet  and  defeat  this  dreaded  foe,  the  hero  answered  he 
was  far  too  old  to  perform  such  a  task,  but  that  his  son 
Rustem  would  fight  in  his  stead.  Before  sending  him  forth, 
however,  Zal  bade  Rustem  select  a  suitable  steed,  and,  from 
all  those  paraded  before  him,  the  youth  picked  out  a  rose- 
colored  colt  called  Rakush  (lightning)  whom  no  one  had 
ever  been  able  to  mount,  although  he  was  quite  old  enough 
to  use.  After  lassoing  and  taming  this  wonderful  steed,' — 
which  obeyed  him  alone, — ^Rustem,  armed  with  a  mace,  set 
out  to  meet  the  foe,  sent  hither  as  he  knew  by  the  evil 
spirit.  Then,  to  oppose  Afrasiab,  Rustem  placed  Kaikobad, 
a  descendant  of  the  old  royal  family,  on  the  throne,  after 
driving  away  the  foe. 


THE  SHAH-NAMEH  405 

The  wise  Kaikobad,  who  reigned  peacefully  one  hundred 
years,  was,  however,  succeeded  by  a  very  foolish  son, 
Kaikous,  who,  ill  satisfied  with  the  extent  of  his  realm, 
undertook  to  conquer  Mazinderan,  which  was  in  the  hands 
of  demons,  but  which  he  had  coveted  ever  since  it  had  been 
described  by  a  young  bard  who  sang : 

"  And  mark  me,  that  untravelled  man 
Who  never  saw  Mazinderan 
And  all  the  charms  its  bowers  possess, 
Has  never  tasted  happiness." 

On  hearing  his  master  propose  such  a  conquest,  Zal 
vainly  remonstrated,  but  the  foolish  monarch  set  out,  and 
on  arriving  in  Mazinderan  was  defeated  by  the  demons, 
who  blinded  him  and  his  army  and  detained  them  prisoners. 
No  sooner  did  the  news  of  this  calamity  reach  Zal,  than 
he  bade  Rustem  go  rescue  the  foolish  monarch,  adding  that, 
although  it  had  taken  Kaikous  six  months  to  reach  his 
destination,  Rustem  could  get  there  in  seven  days,  provided 
he  were  willing  to  brave  great  dangers. 

Of  course  the  hero  selected  the  shorter  route,  and  on  the 
first  day  slew  a  wild  ass,  which  he  roasted  for  supper  before 
lying  down  to  rest.  The  odor  of  roast  meat,  however, 
attracted  a  lion,  which  would  have  made  a  meal  of  the 
sleeping  Rustem,  had  not  his  brave  steed  fought  with  hoofs 
and  teeth  until  he  succeeded  in  slaying  the  beast  of  prey. 
Awakened  only  as  the  fight  ended,  Rustem  reproved  his 
horse  for  risking  his  life  in  this  reckless  way  and  bade  him 
henceforth  call  for  aid. 

"  Oh,  Rakush,  why  so  thoughtless  grown 
To  fight  a  lion  thus  alone? 
For  had  it  been  thy  fate  to  bleed 
And  not  thy  foe,  O  gallant  steed! 
How  could  thy  master  have  conveyed 
His  helm,  and  battle-axe,  and  blade,. 
Unaided  to  Mazinderan? 
Why  didst  thou  fail  to  give  the  alarm. 
And  save  thyself  from  chance  of  harm. 
By  neighing  loudly  .in  my  ear  ? 
But,  though  thy  bold  heart  knows  no  fear, 
From  such  unwise  exploits  refrain 
Nor  try  a  lion's  strength  again." 


406  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

During  the  second  day's  journey,  Rustem  was  saved  from 
perishing  of  thirst  by  following  a  stray  ram  to  a  mountain 
stream ;  and  on  the  third  night,  having  forbidden  his  horse 
to  attack  any  foe  without  warning  him,  Rustem  was  twice 
awakened  by  the  loud  neighing  of  Rakush,  who  had  seen  an 
eighty-yard  long  dragon  draw  near.  Each  time  he  neighed, 
however,  the  dragon  disappeared,  so  Rustem,  seeing  nought, 
reproved  his  horse  for  breaking  his  rest.  The  third  time, 
however,  he  caught  a  glimpse  of  the  dragon's  fiery  eyes, 
so,  attacking  him,  he  slew  him,  thanks  to  the  help  of  his 
horse.  The  fourth  day  was  signalized  by  other  marvellous 
adventures,  and  on  the  fifth,  while  journeying  through  the 
land  of  magic,  Rustem  was  met  by  a  sorceress,  who  tried 
to  win  him  by  many  wiles.  Although  he  accepted  the 
banquet  and  cup  of  wine  she  tendered,  he  no  sooner  bade 
her  quaff  it  in  the  name  of  God,  than  she  was  forced  to 
resume  her  fiendish  form,  whereupon  he  slew  her. 

On  the  sixth  day,  Rustem,  forced  to  ride  through  a  land 
where  the  sun  never  shone,  allowed  his  intelligent  steed  to 
guide  him,  and  thus  safely  reached  on  the  seventh  a  land 
of  plenty  and  light,  where  he  lay  down  to  rest.  There, 
while  he  was  sleeping,  the  people  of  Mazinderan  captured 
his  wonderful  steed.  But,  following  the  traces  of  his 
struggling  horse,  Rustem,  by  dint  of  great  exertions,  made 
them  give  back  Rakush,  and  forced  them  to  guide  him  to 
the  cave  where  the  White  Demon  was  detaining  his  fellow- 
countrymen  prisoners. 

In  front  of  this  cave  Rustem  found  an  array  of  demons, 
and,  after  conquering  them  all,  forced  his  way  into  the 
Persian  hell,  whence  he  rescued  his  companions,  whose  sight 
he  restored  by  trickling  the  blood  of  the  White  Demon  into 
their  sightless  eyes. 

Having  thus  earned  the  title  of  "champion  of  the 
world,"  Rustem  escorted  the  stupid  king  home,  but  this 
monarch,  not  satisfied  with  this  blunder,  committed  one 
folly  after  another.  We  are  told  that  he  even  undertook 
to  fly,  his  special  make  of  aeroplane  being  a  carpet  borne 
by  four  starving  eagles,  fastened  to  the  four  comers  of  its 


THE  SHAH-NAMEH  407 

frame,  and  frantically  striving  to  reach  a  piece  of  meat  fixed 
temptingly  above  and  ahead  of  them. 

Time  and  again  the  foolish  monarch  Kaikous  was  res- 
cued by  the  efforts  of  Rustem,  who,  in  the  course  of  his 
wanderings,  finally  came  to  the  court  of  a  king,  whose 
daughter,  loving  him  by  hearsay,  had  his  horse  stolen  from 
him.  When  Rustem  angrily  demanded  the  return  of  his 
steed,  the  monarch  assured  him  he  should  have  Rakush  on 
the  morrow.  But  that  night  the  beautiful  princess, 
Tamineh,  stole  into  Rustem 's  room,  and,  after  waking  him, 
promised  he  should  have  his  horse  provided  he  would  marry 
her.  Charmed  by  her  beauty  and  grace,  Rustem  readily 
consented,  and  found  such  attractions  in  his  bride  that  he 
lingered  by  her  side  for  some  time. 

The  moment  came,  however,  when  the  foolish  monarch 
required  Rustem 's  services,  and,  as  Tamineh  was  not  able 
at  that  time  to  bear  the  long  journey,  Rustem  bade  her  a 
fond  farewell,  leaving  an  onyx  bracelet  bearing  the  image 
of  the  Simurgh,  with  which  he  bade  her  deck  their  expected 
child.  In  due  time  the  lovely  princess  gave  birth  to  a 
beautiful  boy,  whom  she  called  Sorab  (sunshine),  but, 
fearing  lest  Rustem  should  take  him  away  to  train  him  as 
a  warrior,  she  sent  word  to  him  that  she  had  given  birth 
to  a  daughter.  Girls  being  of  minor  importance  in  Persia, 
Rustem  inquired  no  further  about  this  child,  and  was  kept 
so  busy  serving  his  monarch  that  he  never  once  visited  his 
wife  while  his  son  was  growing  up. 

For  a  long  time  Tamineh  jealously  guarded  the  secret 
of  Sorab 's  birth,  fearing  lest  her  young  son  would  want  to 
go  forth  and  do  battle  too.  But  when  she  could  no  longer 
keep  him  home,  she  told  him  the  story  of  her  wooing : 

"Listen,  my  child,  and  you  shall  hear 
Of  the  wondrous  love  of  a  maiden  dear 
For  a  mighty  warrior,  the  pride  of  his  day 
Who  loved,  and  married,  and  rode  away, 
For  this  is  the  romance  of  Rustem." 

The  lad,  who  had  always  cherished  a  romantic  admira- 
tion for  Rustem,  was  overjoyed  to  learn  his  origin,  and 


408  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

departed  only  after  being  reminded  that  lie  must  never 
fight  his  father,  although  about  to  help  the  Tartars  in  a 
war  against  Persia.  Sorab  was  doing  so  because  every- 
body was  tired  of  the  foolish  king,  who  was  to  be  over- 
thrown, so  that  Kustem  could  be  placed  on  the  throne  in  his 
stead.  To  make  sure  her  son  should  not  fail  to  recognize 
his  father,  Tamineh  sent  with  him  two  faithful  servants 
who  had  known  Rustem  well  when  he  came  to  woo  her. 

Meantime  Afrasiab,  chief  of  the  Tartars,  delighted  to 
have  Sorab 's  aid  against  Persia,  cautioned  all  his  warriors 
not  to  tell  the  youth,  should  his  father  appear  in  the  op- 
posite army,  for  he  slyly  hoped  "the  young  lion  would 
kill  the  old  one,"  and  felt  sure  that,  were  he  only  rid  of 
father  and  son,  he  would  be  able  to  rule  over  Persia  himself. 

In  the  course  of  this  war  young  Sorab  met  with  many 
adventures,  fighting  once  against  an  Amazon,  who  by  trick- 
ery managed  to  escape  from  him.  However,  Sorab  kept 
hoping  the  time  would  come  when  he  and  his  father  would 
meet  face  to  face,  and,  whenever  a  fray  was  about  to  take 
place,  he  always  bade  his  companions  scan  the  ranks  of 
the  foe  to  make  sure  that  Rustem  was  not  there.^ 

Meantime  the  foolish  king,  having  gotten  the  worst  in 
the  war,  had  sent  for  Rustem,  who,  for  reconnoitring  pur- 
poses, entered  the  Tartar  camp  as  a  spy.  There  he  beheld 
Sorab,  and  could  not  help  admiring  the  young  warrior,  of 
whose  many  brave  exploits  he  had  already  heard.  While 
thus  sneaking  about  the  enemy's  tent,  Rustem  was  discov- 
ered by  the  two  servants  whom  Tamineh  had  placed  by 
her  son's  side,  both  of  whom  he  killed  before  they  could 
give  the  alarm.  Thus,  when  Sorab  and  Rustem  finally  came 
face  to  face,  there  was  no  one  at  hand  to  point  out  the 
son  to  the  father  or  inform  the  son  of  his  close  relationship 
to  his  antagonist.  After  the  war  had  raged  for  some  time, 
Sorab  challenged  the  Persians  to  a  single  fight,  for  he  was 

"It  is  this  part  of  the  story  which  Matthew  Arnold  has 
rendered  so  ably  in  his  "  Sohrab  and  Rustum,"  one  of  his  best- 
known  poems. 


THE  SHAH-NAMEH  409 

anxious  to  distinguisli  himself,  knowing  that  should  he  win 
a  great  triumph  his  father  would  hear  of  it,  and  inquire  the 
origin  of  the  youth  of  whom  such  tales  were  told : 

"  Come  then,  hear  now,  and  grant  me  what  I  ask. 
Let  the  two  armies  rest  to-day ;  but  I 
Will  Challenge  forth  the  bravest  Persian  lords 
To  meet  me,  man  to  man:     If  I  prevail, 
Eustum  will  surely  hear  it;  if  I  fall — 
Old  man,  the  dead  need  no  one,  claim  no  kin. 
Dim  is  the  rumor  of  a  common  fight. 
Where  host  meets  host,  and  many  names  are  sunk; 
But  of  a  single  combat  fame  speaks  clear."' 

Such  was  the  reputation  of  Sorab,  however,  that  none 
of  the  Persians  dared  encounter  him,  and  urged  Eustem 
to  undertake  this  task  himself.  Fearing  lest  so  youthful 
an  opponent  should  withdraw  if  he  heard  the  name  of  his 
antagonist,,  or  that  he  should  pride  himself  too  greatly  on 
the  honor  done  him,  Eustem  went  into  battle  in  disguise. 

On  seeing  a  stalwart  old  warrior  approach,  Sorab  felt 
strangely  moved,  and,  running  to  meet  him,  begged  to  know 
his  name,  for  he  had  a  premonition  that  this  was  Eustem. 
The  father,  too,  seized  by  a  peculiar  feeling  of  tender- 
ness for  this  youth,  commented  to  himself  that  had  he  a 
male  descendant  he  would  fain  have  had  him  look  like 
Sorab,  and  therefore  tried  to  make  Mm  withdraw  his  chal- 
lenge. Notwithstanding  Sorab 's  eager  inquiries,  Eustem 
obstinately  refused  to  divulge  his  name,  and,  seeing  his 
opponent  would  not  desist,  bade  him  begin  the  fight  with- 
out further  ado. 

And  then  he  turned  and  sternly  spake  aloud, — 
"  Rise !  wherefore  dost  thou  vainly  question  thus 
Of  Eustum?  I  am  here  whom  thou  hast  called 
By  challenge  forth;  make  good  thy  vaunt,  or  yield! 
Is  it  with  Eustum  only  thou  wouldst  fight? 
Rash  boy,  men  look  on  Rustvrai's  face,  and  flee! 
For  well  I  know,  that  did  great  Eustum  stand 
Before  thy  face  this  day,  and  were  revealed. 
There  would  be  then  no  talk  of  fighting  more." 

'  All  the  quotations  in  regard  to  this  episode  are  from  Matthew 
Arnold's  "  Sohrab  and  Eustum." 


410  THE  BOOK  OF  THE  EPIC 

For  three  consecutive  days  the  battle  raged,  father  and 
son  proving  of  equal  strength  and  skill.  But,  although 
Sorab  once  overthrew  Rustem,  he  generously  stepped  aside 
and  allowed  the  aged  warrior  to  recover  his  footing.  Sev- 
eral times,  also,  the  young  man  proposed  that  they  sheathe 
their  swords,  for  his  heart  continued  to  be  attracted  to  his 
opponent,  who,  fighting  down  similar  emotions,  always 
taunted  his  antagonist  into  renewing  the  fight. 

He  spoke;  and  Sohrab  kindled  at  his  taunts. 

And  he  too  drew  his  sword;  at  once  they  rushed 

Together,  as  two  eagles  on  one  prey 

Come  rushing  down  together  from  the  clouds. 

One  from  the  east,  one  from  the  west;  their  skulls 

Dashed  with  a  clang  together,  and  a  din 

Eose,  such  as  that  the  sinewy  woodcutters 

Make  often  in  the  forest's  heart  at  morn, 

Of  hewing  axes,  crashing  trees, — such  blows 

Kustmn  and  Sohrab  on  each  other  hailed. 

It  was  only  on  the  fifth  day  that  Rustem,  forgetting 
everything  in  the  excitement  of  the  moment,  met  his  foe 
with  his  usual  war  cry,  "Rustem,  Rustem."  The  mere 
sound  of  so  beloved  a  name  so  paralyzed  Sorab,  that,  in- 
stead of  meeting  this  onslaught,  he  sank  beneath  his  father's 
blow.  Then  he  gasped  that,  although  dying,  his  adversary 
could  not  pride  himself  upon  having  fairly  won  the  victory, 
for  nothing  short  of  his  father 's  name  could  have  disarmed 
him  thus! 

"  But  that  beloved  name  unnerved  my  arm, — i 
That  name,  and  something,  I  confess,  in  thee. 
Which  troubles  all  my  heart,  and  made  my  shield 
Fall ;  and  thy  spear  transfixed  an  unarmed  foe. 
And  now  thou  boastest,  and  insult'st  my  fate. 
But  hear  thou  this,  fierce  man,  tremble  to  hear: 
The  mighty  Rustum  shall  ave